Towards a Place-based Approach to Circular Innovation

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Steffen Böhm
Allen Alexander


This Letter proposes a place-based approach to circular innovation. The original concept, as discussed by Cherrington et al. (2023), views ‘circular innovation’ as a strategy for sustainable development, focusing on resource efficiency and the regeneration of natural systems. However, we argue that it overlooks the significance of ‘place.’ This Letter argues that local conditions and contexts are crucial for effectively implementing circular innovations and maximizing their benefits. It advocates for tailoring circular strategies to local dynamics, leveraging local resources, and fostering community involvement. We identify five ‘loops’ that define a place-based approach to circular innovation, namely resource loops, social loops, economic loops, ecological loops, and policy loops. We argue that such a place-based approach supports the creation of localized, circular economies, emphasizing the importance of understanding and integrating the unique attributes of different locales into circular economy practices and policies.

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Author Biographies

Steffen Böhm , University of Exeter Business School

Professor of Organisation & Sustainability, Department of Management 

Allen Alexander, University of Exeter Business School

Associate Professor of Innovation & Circular Economy, Department of Management