The emergence of circular economy: a new framing around prolonging resource productivity


Blomsma, F. and Brennan, G. 2017. The emergence of circular economy: a new framing around prolonging resource productivity. Journal of Industrial Ecology. 21 (3), pp. 603-614.
TitleThe emergence of circular economy: a new framing around prolonging resource productivity
AuthorsBlomsma, F. and Brennan, G.

In this article we use Hirsch and Levin’s (1999) notion of ‘umbrella concepts’ as an analytical lens, in order to articulate the valuable catalytic function the circular economy concept could perform in the waste and resource management debate. We realize this goal by anchoring the circular economy concept in this broader debate through a narrative approach. This leads to the insight that while the various resource strategies grouped under circular economy’s banner are not new individually, the concept offers a new framing of these strategies by drawing attention to their capacity of prolonging resource use as well as to the relationship between these strategies. As such, circular economy offers a new perspective on waste and resource management and provides a new cognitive unit and discursive space for debate. We conclude by discussing research opportunities for the IE community relating to the concept’s theoretical development and its implementation. Specifically, we pose that reinvigorating and growing the social science aspects of IE is required for both. After all, it is the wide adoption and collective implementation of an idea that shapes our material future.

Research GroupCentre for Enterprise, Environment and Development Research (CEEDR)
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Publication dates
Online09 May 2017
Print12 Jun 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited15 May 2017
Submitted01 Mar 2016
Accepted12 Mar 2017
Output statusPublished
Publisher's version
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

Published article version: © 2017 The Authors. Journal of Industrial Ecology, published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc., on behalf of Yale University. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Final Accepted manuscript: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Blomsma, F. and Brennan, G. (2017), The Emergence of Circular Economy: A New Framing Around Prolonging Resource Productivity. Journal of Industrial Ecology. doi:10.1111/jiec.12603, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving

Additional information

Special Issue: Exploring the Circular Economy

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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