Circular economy models implementation in textile industry: An emerging business network perspective

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    Abstract

    In an attempt to implement sustainability, various industries introduce premises of circular economy models (CEM) to their business processes. Reasons behind it can be, for instance, demand from consumer markets (Chintakayala et al., 2018; Su et al., 2019), development of innovation technologies that enable sustainable production (Ranta et al., 2020; Luttenberger, 2020), or changing business activities towards more sustainable ones in order to access resources (Perey et al., 2018; Bocconcelli et al., 2018). The principles of circular economy include the implementation of closed loop production to preserve and re-use resources, minimize waste, and promote sustainability in the environmental and social spheres (Murray et al., 2017; Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2020). Innovative technologies aimed at sustainable business processes have caused changes in various industries (e.g., Keränen et al., 2021; Närvänen et al., 2021) including the textile industry which is conventionally listed among the most sustainability-challenging ones (McFall-Johnsen, 2020). Innovative solutions for the recycling of textile have already been introduced across the European Union but this industry is still in a state of emergence (Koszewska, 2018; Mazzoni, 2020; Köhler, et al., 2021).
    The facilitation of recycling of textile as an industrial system can require the development of appropriate infrastructure, resources and capabilities, supported by policy makers and various business actors (Camilleri, 2020). A company possessing a sustainable innovative technology may experience challenges if not connected to other cross-sector actors providing the infrastructure (Keränen et al., 2021). Therefore, strategic networking of business firms (Gulati et al., 2000; Ritter et al., 2004) is needed in order to facilitate an uninterrupted supply of resources, knowledge, innovation etc., as well as further redistribution of the recycled materials (Klenk et al., 2020; van Fenema & Keers, 2020). The emerging business networks, that facilitate the recycling processes and the associated business activities, may play a key role in the development of new business fields or industries (Möller & Rajala, 2007; Medlin & Törnroos, 2014).
    This study addresses the issue of change in the textile industry through the implementation of CEM. Specifically, this study aims to develop an understanding of the role of emerging business networks for CEM implementation referring to the strategic interaction of business firms within the context of the textile industry. This study seeks to answer the following research question: What business processes and actors are of strategic importance for emerging business networks aimed at CEM implementation in the textile industry?
    Conceptually, this research refers to the concept of emerging business networks, which embraces networking of business firms through which innovations, business concepts or business fields are being developed (Möller & Halinen, 2017), to explore the current practices of textile recycling. Empirically, this study explores the recycling textile industry in Finland grounded on the premises of CEM and relying on business-to-business interaction in its business processes. While Finnish companies are frequently included in the top of various sustainability rankings (see e.g., Corporate Knights, 2021, 2022), the Finnish textile industry still requires development in that regard and faces renewal in order to “strengthen its global reputation as a leader in circular economy” by 2035 (Kamppuri et al, 2021, p. 1). This study contributes to the industrial marketing literature by adopting the circular economy logic for the way in which the companies manage their business activities, and it hence extends the rather scarce conceptual and empirical research on sustainability in business networks (Sharma, 2020). The study also contributes to the growing field of CEM literature (Alnajem et al., 2021) by illustrating how business firms implement changes in their business activities and networking to address sustainability issues.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2022
    MoE publication typeO2 Other
    Event38th Annual IMP Conference : 30/08/22 - 02/09/22 -
    Duration: 30 Aug 20222 Sept 2022

    Conference

    Conference38th Annual IMP Conference : 30/08/22 - 02/09/22
    Period30/08/2202/09/22

    Keywords

    • Textile industry
    • Sustainability
    • Circular economy
    • Finland
    • Business networks

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