Circular Economy strategies of social enterprises in Lagos: a case study approach

PhD thesis

Adelekan, A. 2021. Circular Economy strategies of social enterprises in Lagos: a case study approach. PhD thesis Middlesex University Business School
TypePhD thesis
TitleCircular Economy strategies of social enterprises in Lagos: a case study approach
AuthorsAdelekan, A.

The circular economy (CE) framework has the potential to play a vital role in facilitating a different kind of development in low and middle-income country (LMIC) contexts, due to its promise of improving resource productivity, creating jobs and minimizing environmental degradation from human and economic activities. This thesis addresses how the CE is conceptualized and how its principles can be established in an African context, such as Lagos Nigeria, focusing on social enterprises (SEs) as the object of study, thereby responding to calls that links SEs to sustainable development and that explores the socio-institutional or behavioral changes necessary for achieving circularity. It explores the overarching research question:
How are social enterprises establishing a circular economy in Lagos?
Following a case study strategy, nine SEs operating in the waste sector in Lagos were studied by triangulating the data obtained from in-depth interviews, documents, and archival records. This study demonstrates practical CE implementation examples as findings from the data analysis shows how SEs are organizing differently to collect, aggregate and upcycle waste materials, while also engaging in clean-up and advocacy programs to retrieve more recyclables from the environment. It highlights volume-drivers, core-transformers, and clean-advocates as examples of new circular models that can be advanced and adapted to make a living from waste in low-income and resource scarce environments.
By demonstrating how commercial, social, and environmental objectives are being pursued, this thesis contributes to the understanding of hybrid organizing in a LMIC context and shows how the CE embraces the social dimension of sustainable development beyond only job creation. Additionally, this thesis shows how institutional logics and institutional work can be combined to study the CE, contributing to calls on the concept’s underexplored institutional perspectives. It highlights institutional work in an African context by showing that establishing the CE in Lagos requires disrupting the logic of waste mostly seen as a thing to be thrown away. By changing existing and legitimating new waste practices, while maintaining a formal organizational structure, SEs are disrupting the logic of waste and establishing the CE in Lagos. The effect of their purposive activities on informal waste pickers in Lagos were discussed, while also drawing out policy and practice implications of the findings for advancing CE initiatives in Lagos and Nigeria, as well as in other LMICs.

Sustainable Development Goals8 Decent work and economic growth
9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
11 Sustainable cities and communities
12 Responsible consumption and production
Research GroupCentre for Enterprise, Environment and Development Research (CEEDR)
Department nameBusiness School
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print06 Jul 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Jul 2022
Accepted20 May 2021
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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