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Circulation economics – a turn towards sustainability

Stig Ingebrigtsen (Bodø Graduate School of Business, Bodø, Norway)
Ove Jakobsen (Bodø Graduate School of Business, Bodø, Norway)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 1 August 2006




This paper is an attempt to advance the critical discussion regarding environmental and societal responsibility in economics and business.


The paper presents and discusses as a holistic, organic perspective enabling innovative solutions to challenges concerning the responsible and efficient use of natural resources and the constructive interplay with culture. To reach the goal of sustainable development, the paper argues that it is necessary to make changes in several dimensions in mainstream economics. This change of perspective is called a turn towards sustainability. To illustrate the theoretical discussion, the paper gives some practical examples from the reprocessing industry in Norway.


The paper finds, first, effective and efficient use of natural resources is necessary to implement circular value chains. Second, sustainable development presupposes a perspective integrating economic, natural and cultural values. Third, to organize the interplay between all stakeholders we introduce an arena for communicative cooperation.


The paper concludes that circulation economics presupposes a change in paradigm, from a mechanistic to an organic world view.



Ingebrigtsen, S. and Jakobsen, O. (2006), "Circulation economics – a turn towards sustainability", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 33 No. 8, pp. 580-593.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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