China, Sustainability


Business | Business Administration, Management, and Operations


Purpose – Circular economy (CE) initiatives are taking hold across both developed and developing nations. Central to these initiatives is the reconfiguration of core supply chain management (SCM) processes that underlie current production and consumption patterns. This conceptual article provides a detailed discussion of how supply chain processes can support the successful implementation of CE. The article highlights areas of convergence in hopes of sparking collaboration among scholars and practitioners in SCM, CE, and related fields.

Design/methodology/approach – This article adopts a theory extension approach to conceptual development that uses CE as a “method” for exploring core processes within the domain of SCM. The article offers a discussion of the ways in which the five principles of CE (closing, slowing, intensifying, narrowing, dematerialising loops) intersect with eight core SCM processes (customer relationship management, supplier relationship management, customer service management, demand management, order fulfilment, manufacturing flow management, product development and commercialization, returns management).

Findings – This article identifies specific ways in which core SCM processes can support the transition from traditional linear approaches to production and consumption to a more circular approach. This paper results in a conceptual framework and research agenda for researchers and practitioners working to adapt current supply chain processes to support the implementation of CE.

Originality/value – This article highlights key areas of convergence among scholars and practitioners through a systematic extension of CE principles into the domain of SCM. In so doing, the paper lays out a potential agenda for collaboration among these groups.

Original Citation

Hazen, B.T., Russo, I., Confente, I. and Pellathy, D. (2020), "Supply chain management for circular economy: conceptual framework and research agenda", The International Journal of Logistics Management.