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Circular economy practices and strategies in public sector organizations: An integrative review

Klein, Natacha; Ramos, Tomás B.; Deutz, Pauline


Natacha Klein

Tomás B. Ramos


The concept of the Circular Economy (CE) is an increasingly attractive approach to tackling current sustainability challenges and facilitating a shift away from the linear “take-make-use-dispose” model of production and consumption. The public sector is a major contributor to the CE transition not only as a policy-maker but also as a significant purchaser, consumer, and user of goods and services. The circularization of the public sector itself, however, has received very little attention in CE research. In order to explore the current state of knowledge on the implementation of CE practices and strategies within Public Sector Organizations (PSOs), this research aims to develop an overview of the existing literature. The literature review was designed combining a systematic search with a complementary purposive sampling. Using organizational sustainability as a theoretical perspective, the main results showed a scattered landscape, indicating that the limited research on CE practices and strategies in PSOs has focused so far on the areas of public procurement, internal operations and processes, and public service delivery. As a result of this literature review, an organizational CE framework of a PSO is proposed providing a holistic view of a PSO as a system with organizational dimensions that are relevant for the examination and analysis of the integration process of CE practices and strategies. This innovative framework aims to help further CE research and practice to move beyond current sustainability efforts, highlighting that public procurement, strategy and management, internal processes and operations, assessment and communication, public service delivery, human resources dimensions, collaboration with other organizations, and various external contexts are important public sector areas where the implementation of CE has the potential to bring sustainability benefits.


Klein, N., Ramos, T. B., & Deutz, P. (2020). Circular economy practices and strategies in public sector organizations: An integrative review. Sustainability, 12(10),

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date May 16, 2020
Online Publication Date May 20, 2020
Publication Date May 2, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 9, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 10, 2020
Journal Sustainability (Switzerland)
Electronic ISSN 2071-1050
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 10
Article Number 4181
Series Title Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies
Keywords Circular economy; Practices; Strategies; Sustainability; Public sector organizations; Review; Framework
Public URL
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Additional Information The paper is part of the CRESTING project: Circular economy sustainability implications and guiding progress.


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Copyright Statement
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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