Circular economy visibility evaluation framework

A. Kofos, J. Ubacht, B.D. Rukanova, G. Korevaar, Norbert Kouwenhoven, Y. Tan

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Sustainability is high on the agendas of public and private organizations. Governments are setting targets for reducing the use of virgin raw materials in products and to eliminate waste. To accelerate the transition towards a Circular Economy (CE) policymakers are launching instruments. However, policy instruments, such as financial incentives or new regulatory guidelines, are prone to manipulations when the stakes for the involved stakeholders are high. Therefore, policymakers and government authorities need a solid system to monitor and control the implementation and effectiveness of their CE measures. To this end, digital technologies are key to enabling visibility and monitoring of materials flows. They allow governments and other stakeholders to use data to steer the transition towards a CE. However, data from different materials supply chains reside in a diversity of digital platforms used by a diversity of stakeholders involved. Blockchain-based platforms can support the required visibility by combining data from different stakeholders across different materials supply chains. But connecting all data for CE visibility throughout the entire materials flows into one singular platform is unlikely. With the growing number of blockchain-based platforms that each covers parts of data on CE flows, there is a need to assess the level of visibility they offer and to determine which data is lacking to monitor full CE flows. In this article, the development of a framework to evaluate blockchain-enabled information systems on their ability to act as monitoring systems for CE purposes is presented. The design science research approach was followed to develop the framework. Insights provided by academic literature as well as empirical data from three extant blockchain-enabled platforms were used (i.e., TradeLens, FoodTrust, and Vinturas). The evaluation framework can be deployed by public and private actors (e.g., governments and banks) for monitoring purposes, but also by IT providers to offer CE visibility solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100026
JournalJournal of Responsible Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Circular economy
  • Digital infrastructures
  • Monitoring
  • Visibility
  • Blockchain


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