Circular Business Models

The Circular Economy is a complete rethink on our whole system of modes of production and interaction with consumption and thus, for the most part, businesses will play the biggest role. In essence it becomes “a new vision of the treatment of resources, energy, value creation and entrepreneurship¹.” Making this transition requires an internal commitment by a company, particularly senior management, to become Circular.

Making the Transition to Becoming a Circular Business


For most businesses who are making the transition the hardest part has been engaging staff who can, often, find it difficult in comprehending how enabling the Circular Economy will benefit the company and customers. Therefore businesses need to consider the internal mechanisms within their operations that supports staff for change. The Six Steps² outlined below presents the key questions any business must answer before starting. Click ‘The Six Steps Towards a Circular Business’ to download a complete 8-slide presentation, or click onto each image or text to learn more about each Step.

Finding the Answers


There is also a growing amount of information so it is now easier to find case studies and academic investigation into almost all aspects of the Circular Economy. It is highly recommended that any one truly serious about making the transition to a Circular business seek out as much information as possible.

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The Business Model Canvas


The Business Model Canvas has been a very popular tool for thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs. Here is an adaptation³ specifically for the Circular Economy.

The ReSOLVE Framework


Originally developed by McKinsey, the framework takes the core principles of the Circular Economy and applies them to six actions: Regenerate, Share, Optimise, Loop, Virtualise, and Exchange. McKinsey states “Each action represents a major circular business opportunity. In different ways, these actions all increase the utilisation of physical assets, prolong their life, and shift resource use from finite to renewable sources. Each action reinforces and accelerates the performance of the other actions, creating a strong compounding effect.”


1.”Designing the Business Models for a Circular Economy – Towards the Conceptual Framework” by Mateusz Lewandowski, published 18 January 2016.

2. The Six Steps Towards a Circular Business has been adapted from “Guided Choices: Towards a Circular Business Model” by Douwe Jan Joustra, Egbert de Jong, Frits Engelaer, 2013.

3. The Circulab Board comes from Wiitha and Circulab

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