13 February 2019

Papers on behaviour, design and the circular economy

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Consumer insights into the circular economy
Report of stakeholder meeting, 25 October 2018, 14 pages
The “Stakeholder Meeting: Consumer Insights into the Circular Economy” in Brussels on 25 October 2018, was co-organised by the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption (CSCP) with the support of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), as part of the work plan of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP) Coordination Group.This report gathers the main insights discussed during the meeting in terms of needs, promising practices and benefits of integrating consumer insight into the circular economy, as well as the concrete actions suggested by the participating high-level stakeholders for taking the topic forward.

Human-centred design of products and services for the circular economy -A Review (alternate link)
Lofthouse, V.A. and Prendeville, S., June 2018, The Design Journal, 21(4), pp. 451-476
This paper aims to broaden the circular economy discussion by emphasizing the role of people. The paper combines core circular economy literature and user-centred design seed literature with illustrative case studies, to consider the position-ing of design within a circular economy. The article observes that design is considered predominantly in positivist terms within a field dominated by management, engineering, ecological and environmental science literature. Conceptualizing the designer’s opportunity within the circular economy would benefit from integration of knowledge from the social sciences (sociology of consumption, consumer psychology, cultural studies, inter alia). The current orientation overlooks design as a ‘radical humanist’ paradigm and this has implications for how people are considered (from ‘users-as-subjects’ to ‘people-as-participants’) raising ethical questions about design practice within divergent circular economy framings. The article lays a basis for further research and theory-building for a fuller conceptualization of the designer’s opportunity within the circular economy.

Special issue “Product Design and Consumer Behavior in A Circular Economy”
Sustainability, 10(10), 25 May 2018
Includes 10 papers

The potential of design for behaviour change to foster the transition to a circular economy
Laura Piscicelli, Geke Ludden – DRS, June 2016, 16 pages
The negative environmental, social and economic effects of overconsumption and a throwaway culture have exposed the limits of traditional linear ‘take-make-dispose’ production and consumption patterns. Recently, the shift to a ‘circular economy’ has attracted growing interest as a possible pathway towards more sustainable ways of producing and consuming. Circular business models (e.g. product-service systems, hiring and leasing schemes, collaborative consumption, incentivised return and reuse) aim to keep resources in use for longer, extract maximum value from them whilst in use, and recover and regenerate products or components when they reach their end of life. However, these innovative propositions often encounter important corporate, regulatory and cultural barriers to their introduction. This paper discusses how Design for Behaviour Change (DfBC) – with a focus on Design for Sustainable Behaviour and Practice-oriented design – could contribute to address the latter and foster the transition to a circular economy.

The circular economy, design thinking and education for sustainability
Deborah Andrews – Local Economy 2015, Vol. 30(3) 305–315
The origins of the Linear Economy – the ‘take-make-use-dispose’ model of consumption – date from the Industrial Revolution and the global economy developed around this model. Various social, economic and environmental factors mean that it is no longer sustainable. A radical new model – the Circular Economy – is being advocated but as yet it is not widely practiced. This paper proposes that designers are crucial to the development of this new economic model; furthermore, this model facilitates education for sustainability and enhances employability

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