Enabling circular supply chain

Kirjoitettu: 27.4.2023

The purpose of this doctoral research is to promote structures that allow companies to implement circular economy strategies and collaborate with partners along the supply chain to create value from end-of-life products.

Keywords: circular economy, supply chain, business model, strategy, waste.

As part of sustainable development, the circular economy (CE) aims to preserve natural resources and minimize waste. It is the purpose of this doctoral research to promote CE strategies among businesses and supply chain partners in Finland. With respect to the production of technical and bio-based products, the study aims to minimize resource consumption, reduce CO2 emissions, and promote eco-effectiveness by adopting the Circular Supply Chain (CSC) model. In addition, the CSC model will facilitate the transfer of knowledge across the supply chain, resulting in eco-effective CE practices.

To accomplish this, the research will be conducted over four work packages (WP1–4) and span four years namely: a systematic literature review (WP1), an empirical study on the influence of the CSC paradigm on business model innovation (WP2), an in-depth empirical study of large Finnish companies to enhance collaboration among supply chain partners (WP3), and developing a framework for circular rebound effects in CSC (WP4). This research will not only advance the adoption of CE principles in the region but also create new jobs, promote equity, and foster diversity.

In WP1, the study aims to understand the barriers to implementing the CSC model from the perspective of recovery approaches, including reusing, remanufacturing, and recycling. The research will classify these barriers and determine the most frequent ones. The WP's findings have been described in the article entitled "Toward a Circular Supply Chain: Understanding Barriers from the Perspective of Recovery Approaches," published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

WP2 will investigate how the CSC model will influence the creation of radical innovations in business models. By conducting this study, the researchers aim to identify barriers to implementing viable remanufacturing and recycling processes in Finnish firms and their subsidiaries in other countries. The research team will modify the business model dimensions to create value from waste in remanufacturing. The article titled "Value Creation from Waste through Remanufacturing: Understanding Barriers from the Perspective of Business Model Dimensions" will be published as the output of this WP.

Through WP3, the study seeks to improve collaboration between supply chain partners through digitalization, stimulate local suppliers to implement CE, and improve information sharing by establishing trust and applying innovative methods for electrification. The research will conduct an in-depth empirical study of large Finnish companies to demonstrate how partners in a sustainable supply chain can successfully move toward CE by utilizing their existing competencies (dynamic capabilities). As a result of this WP, an article titled "Transitioning Toward Circular Economy: The Role of Dynamic Capabilities in Enhancing Collaboration Among Supply Chain Partners" will be published.

WP4 aims to establish a framework for considering circular rebound effects in the context of CSCs. This package will provide decision-makers with a roadmap to help them understand and avoid rebound effects that could lead to an overconsumption of green products.

It is anticipated that the results of this doctoral research will assist in promoting CE among Finnish large companies, SMEs, and startups. Companies that adopt the CSC model can save money, minimize raw material usage, minimize emissions, and improve risk management. Furthermore, this research will create new jobs, promote equity, and promote regional diversity. In conjunction with supply chain partners, companies can maximize resource efficiency and minimize waste, contributing to Finland’s carbon neutrality goal.

Mohammad Ayati
Industrial Engineering and Management,
University of Oulu

Kirjoittaja Mohammad Ayati palkittiin huhtikuussa 2023 LOGYn kannusteapurahalla Oulun yliopistossa tekemästään väitöskirjatyöstä. Hänen väitöskirjansa nimi on “Enabling circular economy in the supply chain.”