Towards Understanding Collaboration Within Circular Business Models

Phil Brown*, Nancy Bocken, Ruud Balkenende

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter presents emerging work on mapping collaborative activities related to Circular Business Model (CBM) implementation. Findings pertain to the importance of collaboration presenting specific types demonstrated while pursuing CBMs. Future research areas are highlighted to explore potential impacts of collaboration upon CBMs. Collaboration is essential to simultaneously ensuring economic, environmental and social performance throughout a product’s life cycle(s). This chapter addresses the following question: What types of collaboration are presented by companies pursuing Circular Business Models? Companies developing CBMs, a subcategory of sustainable business models, explore life cycle perspectives through aspiring to slow and close resource loops. The required system change is beyond individual companies and requires transition towards inter-organisational collaborative networks. Collaboration, although vital, is also described as “opaque”, an “amorphous meta-concept”, and a “black box”. Collaboration is therefore a highly diverse and expansive concept, explored here within the specific focus to its implications and interactions upon CBMs. A literature study combining research fields of CBMs and collaboration within sustainable supply chain management was conducted. Specific types of collaboration crucial to CBMs are presented. These are applied through a proposed framework to describe eight Dutch companies pursuing CBMs. Their collaborative processes are analysed through pattern matching and cross-case analysis. Based on this, initial characteristics of the collaborative activities that are linked to CBMs are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Business Models
Subtitle of host publicationPrinciples, Promise, and Practice
EditorsL. Moratis, F. Melissen, S.O. Idowu
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-73503-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-73502-3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameCSR, Sustainability, Ethics and Governance
ISSN (Print)2196-7075
ISSN (Electronic)2196-7083


  • Circular Business Models (CBMs)
  • Circular Play
  • Companies Pursuing
  • Fairphone
  • visionVision


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