Adottare i principi dell'economia circolare nella strategia d'impresa. (Adopting the principles of circular economy in business strategy)

Un'indagine sul livello di recepimento delle imprese italiane. (A survey on the level its implementation by the Italian enterprises)

  • Laura Gavinelli
  • Francesca Ceruti
  • Angelo Di Gregorio
  • Marco Frey
Keywords: circular economy; cluster analysis; business performance; business model; Italy


Purpose of the paper: The work aims to: 1) define the concept of circular economy in business perception; 2) identify the motivations that push companies to adopt the principles of the circular economy; 3) detect any business opportunities that the circular economy offers to companies.

Methodology: Through a cluster analysis, the present exploratory survey analyses the answers of 116 Italian managers to a CAWI questionnaire.

Results: The research identifies three clusters: Unripe, Intermediate and Advanced with a progressive and incremental level of implementation of the principles of circular economy in the respective business models.

Research limitations: The work has some limitations: the use of perceptive scales for the assessment of the impact on business performance, the dimension of the responding sample is limited and, finally, the survey is only national despite the theme is of great importance for the global economic development.

Practical implications: The results provided food for thought on three orders of implications: organizational aspect, reputation, communication strategies. On the organizational aspect, the adherence to the principles of circular economy involves a rethinking of the entire organization of the enterprise. Furthermore, converting to the principles of circular economy is a highly differentiating factor in the offer and can especially increase corporate reputation. Finally, the survey shows that, in the rethinking of business models, it is necessary to invest more in communication as few companies understand the importance of this area.

Originality of the paper: The work is part of the study stream devoted to the circular economy. It studies empirically whether and how the transition from a linear to a circular economic paradigm represents an opportunity for the Italian enterprises. In addition, the research simultaneously involves multiple sectors and analyses the impact of the circular economy on business performance.