Digital Technology Deployment and the Circular Economy

Wynn, Martin G ORCID: 0000-0001-7619-6079 and Jones, Peter ORCID: 0000-0002-9566-9393 (2022) Digital Technology Deployment and the Circular Economy. Sustainability, 14 (15). Art 9077. doi:10.3390/su14159077

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The relationship between digital technologies and the circular economy, both characterised as disruptive, is attracting increasing attention in company boardrooms, in policy and pressure groups and in academic communities. Nevertheless, studies to date highlight a lack of understanding of how digital technologies enable organisations to improve their resource flows and value creation to promote the circular economy. This article looks to address this gap in the academic literature by an examination of if, and how, a small number of organisations are using digital technologies to support their sustainability objectives and circular economy initiatives. The research approach is inductive, using questionnaires and interviews with IT professionals employed in a range of organisations. The article concludes that where organisations are pursuing circular economy initiatives, the connection with digital technology deployment is not evident, even though a more general association with sustainability is. Digital technologies are bringing about greater efficiencies, improved processes and better data management, which are supporting and enabling sustainability objectives, but a more direct linkage with the circular economy will require clearer use cases of how specific digital technologies can progress the circular economy, both within organisations and across the supply chain. Enhanced information systems that facilitate the reporting and analysis of the operational performance of circular economy activities against set objectives will also be needed.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: digital technologies; digital transformation; sustainability; circular economy; information systems
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Martin Wynn
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2022 10:04
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2023 15:44

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