When the circular economy diverges: The co-evolution of biogas business models and material circuits in Finland

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Helena Valve, David Lazarevic, Niko Humalisto. When the circular economy diverges: The co-evolution of biogas business models and material circuits in Finland. Ecological Economics 185 (2021), 107025, ISSN 0921-8009. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107025

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Title: When the circular economy diverges: The co-evolution of biogas business models and material circuits in Finland
Author: Valve, Helena; Lazarevic, David; Humalisto, Niko
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: 2021
Language: en
Belongs to series: Ecological Economics 185 (2021), 107025
ISSN: 0921-8009
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107025
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/337246
Abstract: The circular economy operates as an umbrella concept for attempts to find sustainable alternatives to linear ‘take-make-dispose’ production and consumption systems. Making a circular economy transformation has sparked interest in business models as means to decouple value creation and the use of virgin raw materials. However, so far, little attention has been given to the differentiating capacities of business models to enhance circularity. Using Finnish biogas production as a case study, this paper shows how business models operating within a single economic domain and within uniform institutional conditions differ in terms of how they organise material circuits. Four business models are differentiated based on what wastes and side-flows they enable to be recovered, and how. Because the business models co-evolve, their potentials are analysed in relation to the business model ecosystem. An emerging business model competes with the dominating model. The newcomer would help to generate more closed material loops, but the existing institutional landscape fails to provide support for its emerging modes of value creation and value capture. Two other business models qualify as niche solutions coexisting with the other models. Knowing the business model ecosystem opens up prospects for policy revisions that can foster a more circular economy.
Description: Highlights • Advancing the circular economy sets a focus on circular business models. • Knowledge is needed about the ways business models serve material organisation. • Biogas production in Finland is used as a case study. • Four business models forming a business model ecosystem are identified. • The business models differ in the ways they help to close material loops.
Subject: business model
business model ecosystem
circular economy
economic frame
material organisation
biogas business
biogas business models
material circuits
material organisation
biogas production in Finland
case study
business models
material loop
material loops
closing material loops
case studies
ecological economics
gas production (biological)
issues and policy
linear economy
differentiating capacities of business models
enhancing circularity
institutional conditions
Subject (ysa): biokaasu
uusiutuvat energialähteet
Rights: CC BY 4.0

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