Climate change, population growth, and current rate of consumption at global scale have prompted academic and business communities to challenge the current models of production towards more circular approaches. This study aims at understanding what actions small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are taking to meet the challenges and opportunities of the circular economy (CE), analysing actions, barriers, enablers and the connection between CE, business strategy and performance. This research involved 254 Italian SMEs through a multi-method approach, including interviews, surveys, and focus groups. Twenty different CE practices related to waste management, packaging, supply chain and product/process design have been explored. The results show that several CE practices are simultaneously implemented by SMEs, thus supporting the notion that CE implies a systemic approach to company's value creation. In particular, waste management was widely applied (e.g. separated waste collection was carried out by 84% of the companies surveyed), while resource saving practices were implemented by only 14% of the sample. Higher costs are the main barrier to CE for early adopters (5.13 on a 7-point Likert-type scale). However, companies implementing CE practices perceive them as a business opportunity rather than a cost, thus showing that CE may represent a source of value creation for companies, particularly SMEs.

Circular economy in Italian SMEs: A multi-method study

Mura M.;Longo M.;Zanni S.
2020

Abstract

Climate change, population growth, and current rate of consumption at global scale have prompted academic and business communities to challenge the current models of production towards more circular approaches. This study aims at understanding what actions small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are taking to meet the challenges and opportunities of the circular economy (CE), analysing actions, barriers, enablers and the connection between CE, business strategy and performance. This research involved 254 Italian SMEs through a multi-method approach, including interviews, surveys, and focus groups. Twenty different CE practices related to waste management, packaging, supply chain and product/process design have been explored. The results show that several CE practices are simultaneously implemented by SMEs, thus supporting the notion that CE implies a systemic approach to company's value creation. In particular, waste management was widely applied (e.g. separated waste collection was carried out by 84% of the companies surveyed), while resource saving practices were implemented by only 14% of the sample. Higher costs are the main barrier to CE for early adopters (5.13 on a 7-point Likert-type scale). However, companies implementing CE practices perceive them as a business opportunity rather than a cost, thus showing that CE may represent a source of value creation for companies, particularly SMEs.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
mura et al 2019 - JCP.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipo: Versione (PDF) editoriale
Licenza: Licenza per Accesso Aperto. Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate (CCBYNCND)
Dimensione 1.73 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
1.73 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/717264
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 62
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 52
social impact