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Degrowth within – Aligning circular economy and strong sustainability narratives Resources, Conservation and Recycling

July 2019

Source: Resources, Conservation and Recycling

Authors: Patrick Schröder, Magnus Bengtsson, Maurie Cohen, Paul Dewick, Joerg Hofstettere, Joseph Sarkis

Keywords: Circular economy, Degrowth, Eco-innovation, Rebound effect, Pragmatism

Abstract

This perspective calls for building greater understanding of overlapping and conflicting considerations between the sustainability principles that inform current conceptions of circular economy and degrowth. We contend that scholars and practitioners need to be pragmatic and to recognize evident ideological differences, but simultaneously to acknowledge beneficial similarities and complements. The common aim of both frameworks – to change business-as-usual and to enable human society to operate within ecological planetary boundaries – will likely engender opportunities to formulate new solutions. Management of the inherent tensions, such as the scale and scope of rebound effects, will continue to pose challenges. However, with thoughtful dialogue, commitment to respectful discourse, and more refined articulation we are confident that progress will be made. By building on synergies and seeking holistic strategies, the academic community, along with its transdisciplinary partners, can advance strong global sustainability efforts.