Drivers and Barriers to Circular Economy Strategies in the Telecommunication Industry
Abstract: The telecommunication industry contributes to environmental impacts through energy usage and material resource use. The incorporation of Circular Economy strategies has the potential to restructure and re-engineer systems like those in the telecommunication industry to capture more value for the business while decreasing environmental impacts of business. The objective of the research in this paper is to map the drivers and barriers for the telecommunication sector in adopting Circular Economy strategies. A literature review, industry expert interviews and a focus group were used to gather insight on trends in the uptake of Circular Economy strategies by vendors and operators in the telecommunication industry. The results of the paper point at the concept of Circular Economy being still in its infancy in many telecommunication companies but that there is growing interest due to more widespread recognition of the concept. Drivers of the adoption of Circular Economy strategies are the increasingly harsh competition and disruption in the telecommunication market, value leakage from current business model, growing data consumption and energy use, and the potential for new business opportunities. Barriers to adoption included misaligned policy, issues with product return, risks of business model change, brand risk, company culture, and complexity of change.
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