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New economy, same challenges: Is Circular Economy enabling a sustainable and holistic transition in Europe?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Circular economy has emerged as a new economic paradigm to solve problems of natural resource scarcity and environmental pollution by using resources more efficiently and designing products to minimize waste. This study examines the potential of circular economy to enable the achievement of sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals in Europe. This thesis, through a qualitative content analysis of four overarching European reports related to circular economy strategies, uses a social-ecological systems perspective to: (a) analyze how the three aspects of sustainable development are addressed in the reports and (b) pointing out at missing elements in the European circular economy project that could hinder the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. Circular economy is a good start to change habits in terms of recycling, reusing and repairing but it also raises awareness about the link between our level of consumption and production and its impact on the environment. However, the results of this study show that the link between Sustainable Development Goals and circular economy is weak and that the economic aspects are highlighted in all the reports to the detriment of environmental and social aspects. As a consequence, the current application of circular economy in Europe does not provide systemic and structural changes, fails to address the root of the problem and reflects a weak vision of sustainability. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 89
Series
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 2019/43
Keywords [en]
Sustainable Development, Circular Economy, European Union, Content analysis, Sustainable Development Goals, social-ecological systems
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-388744OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-388744DiVA, id: diva2:1335190
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
Presentation
2019-05-21, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 11:15
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-08-08 Created: 2019-07-04 Last updated: 2019-08-08Bibliographically approved

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