The Circular Economy: A new sustainability paradigm?

Martin Geißdörfer, Paulo Savaget, Nancy Bocken, Erik-Jan Hultink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1368 Citations (Scopus)
257 Downloads (Pure)


While the terms Circular Economy and sustainability are increasingly gaining traction with academia, industry, and policymakers, the similarities and differences between both concepts remain ambiguous. The relationship between the concepts is not made explicit in literature, which is blurring their conceptual contours and constrains the efficacy of using the approaches in research and practice. This research addresses this gap and aims to provide conceptual clarity by distinguishing the terms and synthesising the different types of relationships between them. We conducted an extensive literature review, employing bibliometric analysis and snowballing techniques to investigate the state of the art in the field and synthesise the similarities, differences and relationships between both terms. We identified eight different relationship types in the literature and illustrated the most evident similarities and differences between both concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-768
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Circular business model
  • Circular Economy
  • Closed loop
  • Literature review
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable development


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