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Title: An investigation into the drivers, barriers and policy implications of circular economy using a mixed-mode research approach
Author: Abubakar, F. H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7233 8764
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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The 21st century presents a new set of challenges to mankind, notably intensive global competition, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and rapid growth in population relying on a resource base that is finite in nature. Addressing these challenges has, therefore, become a matter of global concern and urgency, prompting government industries and the financial markets to rethink their approaches with the view to move towards a low-carbon economy. The move towards a circular economy which presents a shift from the current produce-use-dispose approach is touted as a practical solution to the planet's emerging resource crunch given its potential to address both environmental and socio-economic issues. However, despite the promising nature of the circular economy paradigm, a lack of understanding of the concept is rendering its acceptance and implementation a difficult proposition. This is further compounded by lack of genuine interest from key stakeholders regarding the concept, given that a shift to a circular economy would require considerable changes in all parts of the value chain. At present, relevant stakeholders are scrambling for an efficient, consistent and reliable approach towards understanding the concept for onward implementation. In pursuit of a system of operation that satisfies the dual role of GHG mitigation and wealth generation, the current research presents a rigorous analysis of the concept of the circular economy with the view to shedding light on its drivers, barriers and policy implications. This was carried out using two approaches. The first approach entails an exhaustive examination of the supply chain of representative metals that have primary and secondary routes of production through using environmental lifecycle assessment framework. For the four case studies considered, the competitive edge of the circular economy paradigm over the linear approach was demonstrated, at least from a purely environmental perspective. Building upon the LCA study, the current work examines the barriers and drivers towards circular economy practices implementation. Set against a background of stakeholder engagement, key stakeholders from the metals supply chains were identified (including scrap dealers, public authorities, consumers, manufacturers, recyclers, civil society) and interviewed with the view to provide qualitative empirical evidence of the feasibility of such transition. Thematic content analysis of the interviews with key actors and stakeholders yielded seven themes and several sub-themes which can shape the understanding and facilitate the transitioning from a linear economy to circular economy, whilst laying a solid foundation for its acceptance and future implementation. Overall, the analysis presented in this work highlight the competitive edge of the circular economy, however, a key concern is that the economic viability of such transition may be questionable given that mechanisms to endorse them are deemed weak at the moment. For a move to circular economy to become a reality, concerted effort from all stakeholders including policy makers, energy professionals and the society at large is required.
Supervisor: Genovese, Andrea ; Koh, S. C. L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available