Beyond the circular economy theory: implementation methodology for industrial SMEs
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Purpose: The circular economy has multiple benefits and opportunities to achieve sustainability and abetter future for the next generations. The purpose of this paper is to propose a methodology that guidesstep-by-step any industrial SMEs in the transition from the linear to a circular model. Small and mediumenterprises (SMEs) have a crucial role in the sustainable development transition, considering that theyrepresent most of the world's companies.Design/methodology/approach: To develop this methodology, two research techniques were used: afocus group and storyboarding.Findings: The resulting methodology, called Ecopyme, comprises five steps: 1) Firm identity, 2)Diagnosis, 3) Planning, 4) Get the ball rolling, and 5) Assessment and feedback. In addition, two keycriteria that must be included in the whole process were identified: value creation in the firm through acircular economy and organization commitment from the top management to the staff. Research limitations/implications: The Ecopyme methodology has two limitations: It does notpropose either implementation tools or involve consumers and actors at the meso (e.g., eco-industrialparks) and macro (e.g., cities, provinces, countries) levels. Practical implications: This study will help policymakers understand the SMEs' perspective and removebarriers that may hinder the paradigm shift. The methodology is also a useful tool for consultants andentrepreneurs to incorporate the circular economy (CE) principles into their business.Originality/value: In the CE literature, little attention has been paid to proposing a structuredmethodology to implement CE in SMEs. Thus, the study provides a step-by-step methodology thatguides any industrial SMEs to transition from linear to circular. Also, it provides additional evidenceconcerning the importance of human commitment in changing firms' paradigm because people canencourage the adoption of responsible production practices if firms commit CEOs, sustainabilitymanagers, and staff
CitationPrieto Sandoval, V. [et al.]. Beyond the circular economy theory: implementation methodology for industrial SMEs. "Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management", 2021, vol. 14, núm. 3, p. 425-438.