Circular Economy and the Transition to a Sustainable Society: Integrated Assessment Methods for a New Paradigm

Mariana Oliveira, Mecia Miguel, Sven Kevin van Langen, Amos Ncube, Amalia Zucaro, Gabriella Fiorentino, Renato Passaro, Remo Santagata, Nick Coleman, Ben Lowe, Sergio Ulgiati, Andrea Genovese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The circular economy concept has recently gained prominence in political debate and corporate discourse around the world as a pathway towards sustainability. The academic debate is characterised by several and sometimes very contrasting definitions of the concept. We claim here that the issue is not finding silver-bullet solutions that will simultaneously support population growth, increasing affluence and environmental resource regeneration. We argue that a clearer definition is needed for the circular economy concept, in terms of strategies, objectives, future states and stakeholders’ needs. Also, assessment methods need to be developed for keeping track of the transition towards a
circular economy. Within this context, this paper establishes the need for a multistakeholder, multi-dimensional and multi-criteria approach for the evaluation of the transition towards a circular economy across different time and spatial scales, as well as multiple sustainability dimensions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-113
JournalCircular Economy and Sustainability
Issue number1
Early online date22 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2021

Acknowledgements: The authors gratefully acknowledge the funding support from the projects “Realising the Transition towards the Circular Economy: Models, Methods and Applications (ReTraCE)”, funded by the European Commission H2020-MSCA-ITN- 2018 programme (Grant Agreement Number: 814247) and “Promoting
Circular Economy in the Food Supply Chain (ProCEedS)”, funded by European Commission H2020-MSCA-RISE-2018 programme (Grant Agreement Number: 823967).

Funding: Open access funding provided by Università Parthenope di Napoli within the CRUI-CARE

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