Challenges in the transition to a circular economy: understanding the web of constraints to more efficient resource use

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


The concept of the circular economy has attracted the attention of policy makers and businesses in recent years. However, changing the current patterns of resource use, waste, and emissions is complex, since they involve causes, effects, and other interlinkages between economic, environmental, institutional, and socio-cultural processes. This chapter presents an example of an integrative approach to the study of innovation, one of the research lines at ICIS. We propose to move from the concept of a “barrier” to resource efficiency to the notion of a “web of constraints”, in an attempt to consider the complex web of interlinked factors that interact with each other dynamically as well as simultaneously. We use the resource-intensive case of passenger mobility to illustrate how the interaction between supply and demand through aggregated outcomes creates conditions that drive and/or hamper resource-efficient
practices. Implications of the web-of-constraints perspective for policy are discussed at the end of the chapter, where we draw conclusions about what policy makers can do to counteract the inefficient use of resources for the case of mobility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Development Research at ICIS
Subtitle of host publicationTaking stock and looking ahead
EditorsRon Corvers, Joop de Kraker, Rene Kemp, Pim Martens, Harro van Lente
PublisherDatawyse / Universitaire Pers Maastricht
ISBN (Print)978 94 6159 647 5
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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