Forward and reverse logistics for circular economy in construction: A systematic literature review

Lu Ding, Tong Wang*, Paul W. Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


To close the loop for the circular economy (CE) transition in the construction industry, forward logistics (FL) and reverse logistics (RL), as enabling operations for CE, are important topics to be addressed. However, current research mainly focuses on either FL or RL, with a lack of synthesis that presents an overview of the bi-directional logistics system integrating FL and RL and related mechanisms to close the loop. This review, therefore, explores the current cases of FL and RL in the construction arena through a systematic literature review (SLR) process. A review framework to synthesize and compare both FL and RL operations in various phases of the construction project life cycle (CPLC) has been established for this purpose. The phases include - in FL: design, manufacturing, construction, and operations; and in RL: deconstruction, product reuse, waste distribution, and material reprocessing. The review concludes that while similar methods and CE strategies are used in FL and RL, RL operations require more integration between supply chain actors to close the loop for CE in construction. The findings also indicate that more lateral integration between FL and RL phases beyond the life cycle and industrial boundaries is necessary for CE-driven construction projects, instead of only direct vertical integration with up- and down-stream partners. This review proposes a new conceptual framework of circular logistics integration (CLI) that consists of channel creation, network integration, and inventory management to guide and inspire future research in tackling the systematic barriers that hinder materials and resource flow from RL to FL in construction life cycles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135981
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Circular economy
  • Circular logistics integration
  • Conceptual framework
  • Construction industry
  • Construction project life cycle phases
  • Logistics
  • Supply chain actors


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