Innovative Circular Economy Models for the European Pulp and Paper Industry: A Reference Framework for a Resource Recovery Scenario


According to recent literature in the field of sustainability, the circular economy (CE) appears to be a thriving opportunity for creating new businesses, although less attention has been paid to the form in which its principles fit into a comprehensive framework that enables companies to design it in a practical way. This paper presents the methodology that has been adopted to pave the way to a coherent reference framework for circular business model innovation and its outstanding design and implementation, taking into consideration the entire value and supply chain. A unique analysis of recent innovations in circular economy models is provided herein, together with an exhaustive analysis of those elements that enable or hinder their implementation. The main interactions among all those critical elements influencing how organisations innovate and operate cooperatively within a CE ecosystem are also evaluated. In addition, a study of five industrial cases in the pulp and paper industry allowed searching for industrial insights and empirical evidence of the relevance of those elements, including observation, document analysis, and interviews. Lastly, the main outcomes of this research are illustrated using the CE reference framework designed when applied to the aforementioned industrial cases, and relevant insights into future improvements are also provided.




Green & Sustainable Science & Technology; Environmental Sciences; Environmental Studies


Sopelana, A; Auriault, C; Bansal, A; Fifer, K; Paiva, H; Maurice, C; Westin, G; Rios, J; Oleaga, A; Canas, A

nossos autores


This research was funded by European Union, grant number 730305, a collaborative research project entitled New market niches for the pulp and paper industry waste based on circular economy approaches (paperChain) from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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