Circularity assessment in companies: conceptual elements for developing assessment tools
Paper in proceedings, 2017
Circularity assessment is a relatively new term that started to be used by organizations promoting the circular economy, but that has not been adequately defined in the scientific literature yet. Following this, different actors have developed proposals for circularity assessment at the company level, however they have different understanding about what elements should be included. Based on interviews with experts and literature review of the founding disciplines of the circular economy, a framework has been put together that is composed of purpose, scale, criteria and principles. This framework aims at providing a common basis regarding the definition of circularity, its criteria and assessment approaches at the company level, thus, it
expects to reduce the risk of the circular economy becoming inconsequential.
The framework has been used to evaluate four existing circularity assessment proposals at the company level (Circle Economy and PGGM, Ellen Macarthur Foundation, Viktoria Swedish ICT and VBDO) resulting in a gap analysis that identifies alignments and misalignments. From this analysis, it is possible to conclude that the main disagreements relate to what principles and criteria of circularity are used in the proposals. While, scale and purpose of the assessment are the most agreed upon elements. The results of the analysis suggest that there is still room for improvement of existing circularity assessment tools for companies, if they aim at supporting the implementation of a comprehensive circular economy strategy.