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Understanding circular economy awareness and practices in manufacturing firms

Nikolaos Liakos (Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)
Vikas Kumar (Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)
Siwarit Pongsakornrungsilp (School of Management, Walailak University, Nakhonsithammarat, Thailand)
Jose Arturo Garza-Reyes (Centre for Supply Chain Improvement, University of Derby, Derby, UK)
Bhumika Gupta (Institut Mines-Telecom Business School, LITEM, University of Paris-Saclay, Saint-Aubin, France)
Pimlapas Pongsakornrungsilp (School of Management, Walailak University, Nakhonsithammarat, Thailand)

Journal of Enterprise Information Management

ISSN: 1741-0398

Article publication date: 10 June 2019

Issue publication date: 18 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Circular economy (CE) has evolved as a result of the growing environmental awareness, environmental legislation and the need for social responsibility. However, awareness levels of CE are not as high as expected and practices are further behind than they should be, with a significant lack of research around the subject in the literature. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine the current state of awareness levels and the practices around CE in manufacturing firms. Moreover, the study aims to empirically validate one of the earlier proposed CE models.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopts a quantitative survey questionnaire based approach. More than 500 people from various manufacturing organisations were contacted directly over a 40-day long sampling process through the FAME database, personal contacts and LinkedIn. The survey resulted in 103 completed responses. Given the exploratory nature of the study, the data were mainly analysed using descriptive statistics. To validate the CE model, a correlation analysis was also conducted.

Findings

The research findings show that with the growing emphasis on CE across the globe by governing bodies, firms are becoming more aware of CE practices. The analysis also shows some useful insights on the state of each of the pillars (economic benefits, environmental impact and resource scarcity) of CE. The findings also indicate that the environmental impact pillar of CE is at a more developed state than the other two pillars which are, mostly, in a research state.

Research limitations/implications

The study provides manufacturing firms with a thorough understanding of the state of CE practices and importance of its successful implementation. The findings of the study advocates consideration of all three pillars of CE by managers as a guide to plan for an efficient strategy around CE implementation. Moreover, our study adds to existing efforts by the academic community to raise the awareness towards CE practice among all relevant stakeholders. The findings of this study are based on the responses from a limited 103 survey responses from manufacturing firms.

Originality/value

This study adds to the very limited empirical literature on CE awareness and practices in manufacturing firms. This is also one of the first studies attempting to empirically validate an existing CE model.

Keywords

Citation

Liakos, N., Kumar, V., Pongsakornrungsilp, S., Garza-Reyes, J.A., Gupta, B. and Pongsakornrungsilp, P. (2019), "Understanding circular economy awareness and practices in manufacturing firms", Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 563-584. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEIM-02-2019-0058

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited