Research Scientist Järnefelt Vafa

148600 €

The capacity of environmental sustainability assessments in measuring circular economy – The extent of prevalent methods and CE metrics in capturing environmental impacts and rebound effects

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Kaksivuotinen

The environmental sustainability of the circular economy (CE) is assumed to be self-evident among larger audiences promoting the strategy as a solution to the current ‘take-make-dispose’ economy. However, as the goal of the CE is in achieving circularity, it does not necessarily lead to a reduction of environmental impacts. Most of the CE assessments are conducted on one level (e.g., micro), which does reflect the dynamic nature, cause-effects, and especially possible rebound (i.e., backfiring) effects of the CE. Furthermore, CE has been monitored with metrics focusing on the materialisation of circularity neglecting the environmental performance. The objective of this doctoral research is at shedding light on the pitfalls of environmental sustainability measurement by studying the capacity of existing sustainability assessment methods and metrics in capturing the environmental impacts of the CE. The work will propose a framework/tool for measuring the environmental impacts of CE more holistically, which then will be tested in the assessment of CE cases. Based on the findings suggestions will be made for a set of suitable methodologies and metrics that capture the environmental impacts of CE more broadly. The research will contribute to advancing the environmental measurement of a CE further and ensure that future CE solutions are sustainable.