Towards sustainable business: Leading change from the bottom-up




sustainability, circularity, bottom-up, framework, small and medium-sized enterprises


The principles of sustainability and circularity are gaining ground in business, driven by market uncertainty and instability. Although many policies and strategies promote the circular economy from the top-down, there are few tools to help businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, overcome the challenges that hinder its implementation from the bottom-up. This article provides a structured bottom-up framework to accelerate the adoption of initiatives to achieve sustainable goals while transitioning to circularity. It adopts a conceptual framework development using a representation of the circular economy - the funnel metaphor - as a 'method' for exploring sustainability and circularity initiatives. The article categorises specific patterns in which initiatives can support the transition from traditional linear approaches to production and consumption to a more circular approach. By adopting a multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach, this framework introduces a novel way of characterising sustainable and circular initiatives that allows for minimising rebound effects and balancing trade-offs. As a result, companies can better articulate their actions to future-proof their operations and mitigate unsustainable impacts in a context of resource constraints.


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How to Cite

Esteban-Amaro, R., Estelles-Miguel, S., & Lengua, I. (2024). Towards sustainable business: Leading change from the bottom-up . WPOM-Working Papers on Operations Management, 15, 95–111.



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