The circular economy connects firms within and across supply chains, so the waste of one organization becomes the feedstock for another. It is the embodiment of sustainable development, because business production and consumption are contained within the Earth’s planetary limits.
However, implementing the circular economy is tough. It requires businesses to recognize economic opportunities related to waste. It then requires to act collaboratively to innovate products, processes and business models that extract and capture value from waste. It finally requires efficient coordination of highly variable material flows moving forward, backwards and laterally within a complex network of businesses. Weak financial and regulatory incentives, managerial myopia and adversarial buyer-supplier relationships in supply chains make the much needed innovation and coordination difficult to achieve.
The Circular Economy Priority at the Ivey Centre for Building Sustainable Value works to accelerate system transformation towards a circular economy by providing insights into how circular supply chains can function and how current supply chains can be transformed.
Learn more about our research and projects – and how to get involved – below.
Interested in learning more about the circular economy or how you can improve your operations and supply chain? We are always looking for organizations that want to achieve positive change, whether through involvement in upcoming events, consulting projects with our talented students, or sponsored research initiatives. To learn more, contact us with a brief description of what you’d like to do.
Currently, we’re working with leading organizations in the Canadian agri-food sector to identify strategies to reduce food and plastic waste and transition towards circular supply chains. If you’re in the agri-food space and would like to get involved with this initiative, contact us.
Ivey has a unique concentration of top researchers who study supply chains and sustainability. They apply a wide range of empirical and analytical research methods to investigate and understand the transformation of supply chains systems towards circularity.
Learn more about our faculty’s research:
VIDEO: The Circular Economy - from big idea to transformational action
A recent webinar, hosted by the Centre for Building Sustainable Value and the Ivey Academy, convened leading change makers in Canada on how we make real progress towards the circular economy.
Could a circular economy be closer than we think?
Firms may not need to completely re-structure their business model, operations and supply chain to become circular - they can draw on their existing operational agility.
Ivey researchers awarded funding for the circular economy
Jury Gualandris, Deishin Lee, and PhD Candidate, William Diebel, have all received funding for their research on the circular economy and sustainable supply chains.
Using Big Data in supply chain studies
New research published in the Journal of Supply Chain Management by Tima Bansal, Jury Gualandris, and Nahyun Kim identifies the opportunity of incorporating quantitative Big Data in supply chain theory and research.
Engagement & Outreach
Change cannot happen in isolation. That’s why we are committed to engaging with and learning from other scholars, practitioners, and organizations working on circular economy initiatives.
Below are some examples of our recent events, engagement initiatives, and publications in popular press.
Could a circular economy be closer than we think?
Some estimates say that the global economy is only 9% circular. But maybe change in key parts of the system are not as hard to achieve as we think.
Tima Bansal to chair expert panel on the circular economy
A new multidisciplinary panel will examine the potential economic, environmental, and social impacts of advancing a circular economy in Canada.
Learning from IKEA circular economy initiatives
Professors Jury Gualandris and Rob Klassen visit with IKEA Canada to learn about what the organization is doing to build their contribution to a circular economy.
Ivey is well-known for its collaborative and practical case method teaching. Learning through cases challenges students to analyze information, make decisions, and defend those decisions when others may disagree.
Below are some cases related to sustainable supply chains written by Ivey faculty.
Ivey faculty regularly assemble public outputs from their research to help inform policy and business practice related to the circular economy.
Below are some examples.
Opportunity recognition: connecting the dots to illuminate cash in another firm's trash
This project analyzed four firms undergoing opportunity recognition and evaluation of utilizing other firms' waste. Each firm's use of active search, alertness, prior knowledge, and various cognitive frames were examined both independently and in combination with one another. Commonalities and differences between these factors were also assessed. This exploratory research presents insights on the micro-processes that enable firms to "connect the dots" to "see cash in the trash" of other firms.
Operational agility: how one man's trash can be another man's treasure
This paper elaborates on existing theories of operational agility in the context of waste exchanges. Through four case studies of firms in the agri-food industry that are exploring and implementing potential waste synergies, this project assesses similarities and differences in their sources of external and internal variety and their achieved level of waste exchange proficiency.