Vanacore, Emanuela; Boyer, Robert H. W.; Carlsson, Raul; Diener, Derek; Lindahl, Mattias; Carlson, Annelie

Recently, policy makers, governments, business and society are notably more interested in circular economy (CE). The main danger in turbulent times is to act with yesterday’s logic. This, combined with a lack of CE experience, makes business leaders and policy makers uncertain about whether and how the decisions they make today will result in verifiably more resource efficient and circular solutions in the future. Furthermore, the lack of a verifiable, international circularity standard may leave business leaders reluctant to initiate circular business models due to (a) the risk of competitors adopting lower standards; (b) customers doubting the validity of their circularity claim; or (c) policy makers and governments later legislating higher standards. This implies that a transition towards more resource efficient and circular solutions requires developing verifiable, broadly adopted and recognised standards for assessing circularity. While a circularity standard can facilitate the transition towards a CE, the standard development process must overcome multiple challenges, besides the practical realities of today’s predominantly linear economy: (a) how to balance resource circulation and efficiency in relation to value creation and waste generation; (b) what levels of circularity strategy decisions should the standard support: company level, product and business model design, value network; (c) What data are reliably accessible to stakeholders. RISE AB and Linköping University co-developed a standard for circularity with SKF RecondOil – a technology company regenerating industrial lubricants. The process involves iterative dialogue and data collection via first, semi-structured dialogue with company employees, then more focused data collection, and ultimately a test of the standard at a broader scale, within other companies and sectors. The result provides input into the standardisation work of ISO 59020–Circular Economy– Measurement and assessment of circularity.