Towards sustainable manufacturing through collaborative circular economy strategies

Leila Saari (Corresponding author), Vafa Järnefelt, Katri Valkokari, Jorge Tiago Martins, Federica Acerbi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


The principles of a circular economy (CE)—social, economic and environmental—could enhance the sustainability of the manufacturing sector, but radical transitions and collaboration are required in order to fully engage with this paradigm change. This study is based on the assumption that, through collaborative strategies, a CE could transform the inefficiencies of linear value chains into novel competitive advantages for manufacturing companies. This conceptual paper presents a framework that integrates the identified inefficiencies of linear manufacturing value chains and an assessment model describing the five maturity levels of CE. At the lowest level—linearity—there is no collaboration; at the next—industrial piloting—experiments are conducted with discrete pilot projects within supply-chain partners. The third level—systemic material management—cannot be achieved without close collaboration and fair data exchange, while the next level—CE thinking—envisages a closed-loop supply chain. The highest level—full circularity—contributes not only to environmental, but also to economic and social sustainability. This paper argues that the identification of novel value circles and the co-creation of value with a variety of partners are crucial aspects for enabling the CE transition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmart and Sustainable Collaborative Networks 4.0
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 22nd IFIP WG 5.5 Working Conference on Virtual Enterprises, PRO-VE 2021
EditorsLuis M. Camarinha-Matos, Xavier Boucher, Hamideh Afsarmanesh
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-85969-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-85968-8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event22nd IFIP/SoColnet Working Conference on Virtual Enterprises, PRO-VE 2021: Smart and Sustainable Collaborative Networks 4.0 - Saint Etienne, France
Duration: 22 Nov 202124 Nov 2021

Publication series

SeriesIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology


Conference22nd IFIP/SoColnet Working Conference on Virtual Enterprises, PRO-VE 2021
CitySaint Etienne


This work has been supported by funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 873086 (Connected Factories 2) as part of the Factories of the Future Public–Private Partnership initiative.


  • circular economy
  • connected factories
  • collaboration
  • manufacturing companies
  • digitalisation
  • supply chain
  • Supply chain
  • Circular economy
  • Connected factories
  • Collaboration
  • Digitalisation
  • Manufacturing companies


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