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Unintended Circularity? Assessing a Product-Service System for its Potential Contribution to a Circular Economy
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4259-1681
2019 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 11, no 10, article id 2725Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Product-service systems (PSSs) are seen as valuable facilitators of a circular economy (CE) on a business level. However, that PSSs contribute to a CE is not a given and is determined by the chosen PSS business model and strategy applied throughout the entire lifecycle. Thus, in order to support companies in implementing circular business models such as PSSs, an increasing number of frameworks and methods have been proposed in prior research. This article hypothesizes that many industrial companies are expanding to become PSS providers with neither such support nor a strong sustainability focus. There is a gap in the literature regarding the potential contribution of such PSSs to a CE. Thus, the research reported aims to provide initial insight regarding whether unintended circularity, i.e., an unintended contribution to a CE, may occur when becoming a PSS provider. Applying and adapting an existing framework for the assessment of PSSs potential contribution to a CE, the use-oriented PSS of an industrial company was assessed in-depth. Results regarding the relative resource reduction and the prospect of achieving absolute resource decoupling are reported and discussed. While relative improvements over product sales are identified, e.g., resulting from end-of-life efforts on reuse and remanufacturing, opportunities for additional enhancement are found, e.g., in adjustments of the PSS design process. Concerning absolute resource decoupling, a fundamental challenge lies in the use-oriented PSSs dependency on an increasing number of physical components as the companys business expands. This article advances the discussion on PSSs potential contributions to a CE with an in-depth empirical study. For practitioners, the results reported expand on important aspects of efficient and effective PSS provision throughout the lifecycle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI , 2019. Vol. 11, no 10, article id 2725
Keywords [en]
Integrated product-service offerings; servitization; sustainable PSS design; lifecycle; resource decoupling; sustainability
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-158574DOI: 10.3390/su11102725ISI: 000471010300008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-158574DiVA, id: diva2:1334873
Note

Funding Agencies|case company Kamiono; Mistra REES (Resource-Efficient and Effective Solutions) program - Mistra (The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research) [2014/16]

Available from: 2019-07-03 Created: 2019-07-03 Last updated: 2019-11-06

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