The Circular Economy – A New Sustainability Paradigm?

Authors: Martin Geissdoerfer, Paulo Savaget, Nancy Bocken and Erik Jan Hultik.

Date of publish: February 2017

Why did we conduct this research?

Even though the circular economy idea has been increasingly gaining momentum in the last decade, there is still not enough knowledge on how it fits into the sustainability paradigm. This paper aims at clearing the air between these two concepts; how they relate to and what their synergies and differences are.

Key findings:

  • Since sustainability concerns are increasingly incorporated into both the agendas of policymakers and the strategies of companies, and at the same time, the circular economy is a term on the raise too, there are high chances for both concepts to co-exist and retrofit each other.
  • The idea behind sustainability is not to just settle goals but about opening scopes for expectations and lifestyle changes, which very much align with the reasoning behind the circular economy as well.


Geissdoerfer, Martin, Paulo Savaget, Nancy M.P. Bocken, and Erik Jan Hultink. 2017. “The Circular Economy – A New Sustainability Paradigm?” Journal of Cleaner Production 143: 757–768.