Building a circular supply chain
This paper highlights the fundamental contribution that supply chain professionals can make to the transition to a circular economy. It aims to provide a general understanding of how the circular economy and supply chain management fields are related to one another. By exploring the concept of a circular supply chain, the paper illustrates the role of supply chain professionals in operationalising circular economy initiatives within their organisations, as well as the opportunities and challenges they may encounter along the way. The paper also provides initial recommendations for and examples of companies overcoming some of these challenges, based on the experiences of supply chain professionals involved in the research. Additional research into the real-life experiences of such professionals will be needed to gain a fuller understanding of the exact changes needed to their role, and the best practices they can deploy to effectively transition to circular supply chains.
This paper has been developed in collaboration with the Circular Supply Chain Network, a global community of supply chain professionals committed to accelerating the transition to circular supply chains. The content has been informed by a set of interviews conducted in the Spring of 2023, as well as insights gathered from a working group series run with supply chain professionals from the Foundation’s Network in June of 2023.