Sustainable urban development was defined as the challenge to be addressed by the students of the 2015 version of the Challenge Lab and as the framework under which research questions would be derived. The Challenge Lab is a neutral arena where students become change agents and address complex problems from a systems’ perspective. By applying the backEcasting methodology, students identify leverage points to intervene the system and contribute to its transition towards sustainability. In the case of this specific master thesis, and as a result of such process, resource efficiency was identified as such leverage point and circular economy as a suitable strategy to address it. In order to successfully transition towards a circular economy, different actors have underlined circularity measurement as a key step and some initiatives have already been developed. After reviewing these proposals, it was evident the lack of agreement about the main elements such assessment should have if it were going to help to adequately transform the economic system towards circularity. In this sense, this study aimed at building a general framework based on expert contributions that could be used to evaluate circularity assessment proposals, in terms of their alignment with fundamental aspects of circularity. From an expert perspective a circularity assessment has to include several aspects if it is going to contribute to a transition towards circularity. First, it should contribute to improve resource stewardship, should serve as a managerial decision making and foster engagement. In addition to this, kind of assessment needs to integrate the multiple scales at which the company has influence and not just focus on one. Then, it has into account different aspects that define circularity and finally, it requires following the circular economy principles if it will transparently inform decisionEmaking. Based on these elements, the existing initiatives were evaluated and it was found that none of them are 100% aligned with the expert proposals leaving room for improvement and collaboration.
© JUANA CAMACHO OTERO, 2015.
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