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Coping with barriers for a circular economy : the case of product-service systems

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Organization
Abstract
New ways to conduct business are expected to play an important role in in the transition to a circular economy. In particular, the potential of innovative ways to link producers and consumers in so called ‘product-service systems’ (PSS) has attracted attention. A core characteristic of PSS is a shift in ownership: while in the dominant business model, consumers buy products and thus gain ownership over the product, in PSS producers or distributors retain ownership during the usage of the product or material by a consumer/user. From a sustainability perspective, the hope is that these new business models drive producers towards more resource and energy efficient ways of production, and more durable, reusable and repairable products as outputs. Formulated in this way, PSS fit the foreseen picture of a more circular economy almost perfectly. However, despite increasing attention and expectations, PSS for the circular economy seem slow to emerge and in particular have difficulties in scaling up. For this reason, our paper explores which obstacles and opportunities PSS initiatives currently encounter, and how they try to cope with them and/or exploit them. The paper builds on an analysis of 7 cases, both from a business-to-business-context (such as light-as-a-service and chemical leasing) and from a business-to-consumer-context (such as car sharing and tool libraries). Data were gathered through document analysis and interviews with entrepreneurs and business developers engaged in pursuing specific PSS-innovations. The analysis is guided by the TIS-framework, which is generally used in the context of technological innovations. In doing so, the paper also tries to contribute methodologically to the field of transition studies, by testing out whether TIS and its functions of innovation systems can be a useful heuristic for analysing innovations which are mainly driven by a socio-economic logic.
Keywords
TIS, Product-Service Systems (PSS), barriers

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Van Gaubergen, Jonas. “Coping with Barriers for a Circular Economy : The Case of Product-Service Systems.” Network for Early Career Researchers in Sustainability Transitions (NEST), 5th NEST Conference, Abstracts, 2020.
APA
Van Gaubergen, J. (2020). Coping with barriers for a circular economy : the case of product-service systems. In Network for Early career researchers in Sustainability Transitions (NEST), 5th NEST Conference, Abstracts. Zurich, Switzerland/Online.
Chicago author-date
Van Gaubergen, Jonas. 2020. “Coping with Barriers for a Circular Economy : The Case of Product-Service Systems.” In Network for Early Career Researchers in Sustainability Transitions (NEST), 5th NEST Conference, Abstracts.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Van Gaubergen, Jonas. 2020. “Coping with Barriers for a Circular Economy : The Case of Product-Service Systems.” In Network for Early Career Researchers in Sustainability Transitions (NEST), 5th NEST Conference, Abstracts.
Vancouver
1.
Van Gaubergen J. Coping with barriers for a circular economy : the case of product-service systems. In: Network for Early career researchers in Sustainability Transitions (NEST), 5th NEST Conference, Abstracts. 2020.
IEEE
[1]
J. Van Gaubergen, “Coping with barriers for a circular economy : the case of product-service systems,” in Network for Early career researchers in Sustainability Transitions (NEST), 5th NEST Conference, Abstracts, Zurich, Switzerland/Online, 2020.
@inproceedings{8685732,
  abstract     = {{New ways to conduct business are expected to play an important role in in the transition to a circular economy. In particular, the potential of innovative ways to link producers and consumers in so called ‘product-service systems’ (PSS) has attracted attention. A core characteristic of PSS is a shift in ownership: while in the dominant business model, consumers buy products and thus gain ownership over the product, in PSS producers or distributors retain ownership during the usage of the product or material by a consumer/user. From a sustainability perspective, the hope is that these new business models drive producers towards more resource and energy efficient ways of production, and more durable, reusable and repairable products as outputs. Formulated in this way, PSS fit the foreseen picture of a more circular economy almost perfectly.

However, despite increasing attention and expectations, PSS for the circular economy seem slow to emerge and in particular have difficulties in scaling up. For this reason, our paper explores which obstacles and opportunities PSS initiatives currently encounter, and how they try to cope with them and/or exploit them. The paper builds on an analysis of 7 cases, both  from a business-to-business-context (such as light-as-a-service and chemical leasing) and from a business-to-consumer-context (such as car sharing and tool libraries). Data were gathered through document analysis and interviews with entrepreneurs and business developers engaged in pursuing specific PSS-innovations. The analysis is guided by the TIS-framework, which is generally used in the context of technological innovations. In doing so, the paper also tries to contribute methodologically to the field of transition studies, by testing out whether TIS and its functions of innovation systems can be a useful heuristic for analysing innovations which are mainly driven by a socio-economic logic.}},
  author       = {{Van Gaubergen, Jonas}},
  booktitle    = {{Network for Early career researchers in Sustainability Transitions (NEST), 5th NEST Conference, Abstracts}},
  keywords     = {{TIS,Product-Service Systems (PSS),barriers}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  location     = {{Zurich, Switzerland/Online}},
  title        = {{Coping with barriers for a circular economy : the case of product-service systems}},
  year         = {{2020}},
}