Welcome to Potentials and challenges of circular economy as sustainability strategy in businesses and cities


It is increasingly acknowledged that the linear ‘take-make-dispose’ economic model is reaching its limits, and initiatives to develop alternative economic models are emerging. Circular economy is currently getting a lot of attention, because it promises an industrial system that is restorative by design. Both businesses and cities are developing circular economy strategies.

However, circular economy is not without shortcomings as strategy for sustainable development. It is risky promoting a circular economy, where focus merely is on closing existing material flows and not trying to understand the dynamics of the present linear economy by questioning why we produce what, the challenge to closing material flows from the globalized, outsourced cheap production, and when and why products lose value to their users and become waste.

The course introduces potentials and challenges to circular economy from a business perspective and from an urban perspective. Theoretically, the course integrates theories about product chains, value chains, social practices, user-oriented innovation and governance.

Three types of re-design processes are discussed, which are necessary to consider when developing circular economy business models within specific institutional and regulatory contexts: 1) re-designs of products and services based on considerations about necessary changes in roles of products, users, service, infrastructure, etc. 2) re-designing value chains both up-stream and down-stream and 3) internal organizational redesign of the business organization in order to integrate environmental concerns in product and strategy development.

From an urban perspective, different roles in developing and supporting circular economy are introduced: 1) Public planning, 2) Public infrastructures, 3) Public procurement, 4) Public building and construction, 5) Local business development.

Organizers: Arne Remmen ar@plan.aau.dk and Michael Søgaard Jørgensen msjo@plan.aau.dk

Lecturers: Arne Remmen, AAU; Michael Søgaard Jørgensen AAU


Time: 27-29 November 2019. The course start at 10 am on 27/11 and ends at 4 pm on 29/11.

Place: Aalborg University; Copenhagen campus, A. C. Meyers Vænge 15, room ACM15, building A, room 2.2.040A

City: 2450 Copenhagen

Number of seats: 25

Deadline: 6 November 2019

Important information concerning PhD courses: We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 5,000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately three months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year. We look forward to your registrations.