Call for Papers: Exploring the Circular Economy

Call for Papers: Exploring the Circular Economy

Is industrial ecology the science of the circular economy?

In “Strategies for Manufacturing,” the seminal article in 1989 that is often identified as marking the beginning of industrial ecology as a research field, Robert Frosch and Nicholas Gallopolous (1989) analogized industrial ecosystems to biological ecosystems.  The set of ideas based on an ecological analogy in varying degrees and forms has been examined, elaborated and increasingly adopted in many guises.  Most recently, the circular economy has captured the imagination of many in the environmental world. China enacted a law for the promotion of the circular economy in 2008, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has played a pivotal role in engaging the business community, and the European Union is formulating a circular economy strategy as a socio-economically promising means to achieve resource efficiency.

In contrast to the take-use-dispose paradigm in a traditional linear economy, in a circular economy, resources are kept in use for as long as possible, extracting their maximum value. Products and materials are recovered and renewed, leveraging business models designed to support this regenerative activity. In closing materials loops or cycling resources, the circular economy looks to natural systems—or more precisely, nature as represented in ecosystem ecology—as an inspiration for resource efficiency in anthropogenic systems.

As the circular economy concept gains traction and as iteration continues between vision and implementation, a wide variety of questions need careful exploration. In some arenas, the focus is on when and how circular economy approaches produce desirable environmental outcomes—and when they don’t. In others, the interest lies in the further development of tools and strategies, e.g., how is circularity measured in businesses and economies? And in still others, the central concern is the diffusion and adoption of circular economies approaches by business, governments and society at large.  And for the field of industrial ecology, the questions are how the circular economy can learn from the methods and findings of industrial ecology, and what new ideas the circular economy is bringing to industrial ecology.

To address these questions, the Journal of Industrial Ecology announces a call for papers for a special issue on Exploring the Circular Economy. The special issue seeks to probe diverse dimensions of the concept, methodologies, performance and history (intellectual and practical) of the circular economy.

For the full call for papers, please go to:  The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2016.

The Journal of Industrial Ecology is an international peer-reviewed bimonthly, owned by Yale University, headquartered at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and published by Wiley-Blackwell. It is the official journal of the International Society for Industrial Ecology.