Suikkanen, Johanna; Saarinen, Iina; Näyhä, Annukka

The Circular Economy (Pearce and Turner, 1990) is seen as a promising way of operationalizing complex sustainable development issues for business (Kirschherr et al., 2017) by proposing closed-loop, access-and performance, and long life business models (Bocken et al., 2016) The transition to a Circular Economy requires changes in the market and the business logic, which may be boosted by a multitude of regulation-based tools, including ecolabelling (EC, 2020). Although ecolabels have been studied from a variety of perspectives over some decades, their role within the scope of circular business model uptake has not yet been addressed. This paper contributes to the filling of that gap by discussing the functions, and eventual usefulness, of current ecolabels for companies employing circular economy business models. The paper contributes to the session theme 6.3 by discussing the findings to the research question: “Are companies with circular business models using ecolabels for their products and their supply chain?”. The findings are based on a survey sent to 214 Finnish companies that operate under circular economy business models (product life extension, product-as-a-service, renewability, sharing platform, resource efficiency and recycling). The responses indicate that the most commonly used ecolabels relate to the material (GOTS, Öko-tex), but overall their use for the product or the supply chain is limited. The results of the survey (response rate 16%) will be complemented by interviews to further conclude on the reasons for the limited use of ecolabels by circular economy frontrunner companies. The findings will have practical value for the future development and promotion of ecolabels in line with the circular economy.