Steering towards Circular Economy- A case study about how individual translation of circular economy influences a multinational corporation (MNC)

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: Circular Economy (CE) has been argued to be a necessary guideline for improving sustainable development, with the objective to gradually decouple growth from the consumption of finite resources. The findings in this report emphasise the complexity of finding a coherent definition of CE and outline why the concept is translated differently by individuals in a multinational corporation (MNC). Throughout 26 interviews with managers connected to sustainability and organisational change at a Swedish MNC, the report validates that organisations will likely react to external pressures when implementing new ideas. We suggest that organisations have motives to act according to what is considered acceptable since this enhances the firm's legitimacy. Also, we demonstrate that the translation process is important to include in this discussion, especially when new concepts such as a CE will be implemented. The findings reveal that CE means different things to different individuals, which must be taken into consideration in processes of change. We highlight that profitability is still the key factor in strategic decisions, though arguing that an environmental logic is emerging in the current business climate. For organisations to implement a change towards CE, we suggest that everyone inside the organisation should prioritise it on their agenda and see their role in such an engagement. However, a change to CE will likely require significant investments and risk taking. Much focus in previous research has been on defining CE, while we suggest that focus instead should be placed on acknowledging the individual motives to engage in CE activities.

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