Unveiling the potentials of circular
economy values in logistics and
supply chain management
Eva Faja Ripanti
Department of Informatics, Universitas Tanjungpura, Pontianak, Indonesia, and
Centre for Business in Society, Coventry University, Coventry, UK
Purpose –The purpose of this paper is to unveil the circular economy (CE) values with an ultimate goal to
provide tenets in a format or structure that can potentially be used for designing a circular, closed-loop supply
chain and reverse logistics.
Design/methodology/approach –This is desk-based research whose data were collected from relevant
publication databases and other scientific resources, using a wide range of keywords and phrases associated with
CE, reverse logistics, product recovery and other relevant terms. There are five main steps in the reformulation of
CE principles: literature filtering, literature analysis, thematic analysis, value definition and value mapping.
Findings –In total, 15 CE values have been identified according to their fundamental concepts, behaviours,
characteristics and theories. The values are grouped into principles, intrinsic attributes and enablers. These
values can be embedded into the design process of product recovery management, reverse logistics and
closed-loop supply chain.
Research limitations/implications –The paper contributes to the redefinition, identification and
implementation of the CE values, as a basis for the transformation from a traditional to a more circular supply
chain. The reformulation of the CE values will potentially affect the way supply chain and logistics systems
considering the imperatives of circularity may be designed in the future.
Originality/value –The reformulation principles, intrinsic attributes and enablers of CE in this paper is
considered innovative in terms of improving a better understanding of the notion of CE and how CE can be
applied in the context of modern logistics and supply chain management.
Keywords Sustainability, Literature review, Reverse logistics
Paper type Literature review
The circular economy (CE) is defined as a global economic model to minimise the consumption of
finite resources, which focuses on the intelligent design of materials, product and systems (EMF,
2013a). It also supports separating treatment between technical and biological materials to
maximise the design for reuse, to return to the biosphere and retain value through innovations
across fields (Webster, 2015; Lacy and Rutqvist, 2015). Transitioning from the linear to a CE not
only requires a fine-tuning that reduces the negative impacts of the linear economy, but also a
whole system approach that builds upon a number of guiding principles. These principles allow
resilience to be built into the CE system, ensuring the long-term generation of economic
opportunities and at the same time offering societal and environmental benefits.
CE principles have been elaborated by several researchers in various manners and from
various viewpoints: Feng (2004) in Yuan et al. (2006), Pintér (2006), Yuan et al. (2006), Yong
(2007), Geng et al. (2012), EMF (2013a, 2015), Stahel (2013) and Pan et al. (2015). Principles, in
theory, can support the understanding of a concept; however, principles alone are often
insufficient to support the practicality of that concept. This paper therefore aims to
reformulate the existing CE principles into CE values (or tenets) in a format or structure that
supports the design of a circular, closed-loop supply chain and reverse logistics. In this
paper, CE principles were reformulated through five steps: data filtering, literature analysis,
thematic analysis, CE values definition and CE values mapping.
The International Journal of
Vol. 30 No. 3, 2019
© Emerald PublishingLimited
Received 28 April 2018
Revised 21 March 2019
Accepted 9 April 2019
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CE values in