RMIT University
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Circular Economy Platforms: Enablers and Organizers of Economic and Environmental Value Creation in the Circular Economy

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posted on 2024-07-10, 03:21 authored by Outi Blackburn
The transition from the traditional linear economy model to the circular economy (CE) has been designed to transform global production/service-consumption cycles into more sustainable ones. However, the transition has been incremental, and a better understanding of enablers and accelerators of economic and environmental value creation in the CE are needed. To shift a model of the economy from linear to circular, all levels, and actors of the socioeconomic system, from individual consumers to organizations and institutions, should participate in the new economic activities. Digital platforms' adaptable technological architecture and matching capabilities have enabled the development of circular resource and service markets. Therefore, platforms have become important elements in enabling the resource circulation and the implementation of new circular business models. However, regardless of the rapid platform-based market development, the academic literature and theory building regarding platforms as the CE transition enablers remain in infancy. Therefore, this dissertation investigates how platforms facilitate economic and environmental value creation in the CE context and accelerate the circular transition. Based on qualitative research, this dissertation combines a systematic literature review and two multiple case studies of 20 firms in Europe. This study's findings construct a conceptual and thematic map of contemporary CE platform research and empirically identify the key socio-technological enablers and meta-organizational mechanisms that support the economic and environmental value creation in the CE. Additionally, the platform-enabled circular business models are conceptualized as the CE platforms. Overall, this dissertation contributes to and advances the contemporary platform and CE streams of literature by explaining how CE platforms can be used to enable and organize CE activities. For managers, the dissertation provides actionable strategies for implementing platform-enabled circular business models.


Degree Type

Doctorate by Research


© Outi Blackburn 2024

School name

Grad School of Bus and Law, RMIT University

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