Track 2.1. Towards a Digital and Sustainable Circular Economy


Track 2.1. Towards a Digital and Sustainable Circular Economy

Session owner:
Prof. Dr. Rupert J. Baumgartner, University of Graz

Digital technologies, such as the internet of things, big data analysis, artificial intelligence, or blockchain, are considered enablers for a more sustainable and circular economy. While the related literature body is rapidly growing, there is still a need for research that further details the individual and joint potentials of different digital technologies for specific sustainable and circular product management activities in general and in the context of the upcoming regulations underpinning the European green and digital “twin transition”.

This session will be guided by, but not limited to, the following questions:

  • How can different digital technologies and data science techniques support companies in making their products more sustainable and circular, e.g. by prolonging product lifetimes?
  • Which specific tasks of sustainable and circular product management (e.g., sustainable and circular product design, (social) life cycle assessment, circularity assessment, production, business modelling, supply chain management, …) can benefit from which technologies and techniques?
  • What are the differences between sectors/industries, and which applications are particularly suitable in the different contexts?
  • What challenges are faced especially by SMEs when engaging in the digital circular economy transition, and how can they be overcome?
  • How is the environmental and social performance of different products and processes affected by digital technologies?
  • What are the indirect benefits/drawbacks of the increased use of digital technologies in companies and value chains?
  • Which potentials does the digital product passport, to be introduced in the European Union, hold for making products more sustainable and circular, and what are the technical requirements and success factors for its implementation?
  • What is the role of consumers and citizens in the digital circular economy, and what are the individual and societal effects of their increased involvement in digital and circular business models?

Given the nature of these questions, a wide variety of studies are invited, ranging from the proposition of technical concepts and prototypes, over single and multiple-case studies of the implementation of different digital technologies in companies and value chains, to deductive empirical studies investigating antecedents and potential effects of the implementation of digital technologies on various aspects of the environmental and economic performance of companies.