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Circular economy

Students learn about the circular economy as part of the Marketing (MSc) programme.

Since Dr Roberta De Angelis’ appointment as a Lecturer in Marketing and Strategy at Cardiff Business School, circular economy thinking and examples of circular business models have been incorporated within the modules she teaches on.

“My teaching highlights how to progress towards a fair and sustainable economy and links to Cardiff Business School’s public value strategy: to make a positive impact on the world.”
Dr Roberta De Angelis Lecturer in Marketing and Strategy

Circular economy and public value

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation describes the concept of the circular economy: “in our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and eventually throw them away as waste – the process is linear. In a circular economy, by contrast, we stop waste being produced in the first place.”

The circular economy has gained a great deal of attention across policy, business and academic circles as a promising solution to address many of the environmental, social and economic sustainability challenges. These include climate change, depletion of finite natural resources, resources price and supply volatility.

As a result of the teaching, students learn to clearly define and identify the circular economy concept and principles. They learn to analyse the economic, environmental and social value creation resulting from the implementation of circular business models.

Case studies

Students examine the case study of Toast Ale - a social enterprise and a certified B Corp. Toast Ale is an award-winning craft beer brewed with surplus fresh bread that would otherwise be wasted. All profits go to charities working to address food waste.

Drawing on insights from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Toast Ale website, students analyse Toast Ale’s business model and investigate the multiple forms of value resulting from the implementation of circular business models.

Student feedback

Positive student feedback about the circular economy subject  has been received with comments including: “beneficial to society”, “eye-opening” “necessary”, “very interesting” and “amazing”.

Dr Roberta De Angelis explains what public value teaching means to her

“Higher education institutions play a key role in providing those that will shape tomorrow’s world with the skills and vision necessary to drive circular innovation. This is one of the reasons why I believe that it is important to teach this subject.”

On how Dr De Angelis’s interest in corporate sustainability developed, she says it was when she was a Master’s student and she met her prospective doctoral supervisor, Julie Whittaker .

“Her knowledge and passion for the subject as well as the charismatic figure of Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the titular foundation, and the Foundation’s work on the circular economy, inspired me to pursue a doctoral degree in business model innovation for a circular economy to understand better how businesses can contribute to build a more prosperous and resilient economy.

I hope that by teaching the circular economy model, I can provide my students with the same inspiration and motivation that has fuelled my passion and interest in this subject. It is a fantastic opportunity to catalyse the attention of our students and future business leaders, who may want to learn more about the circular economy with further studies or implement it within the corporate sector.”

Dr De Angelis added:

“Albert Einstein famously argued that “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when creating them”. Our extractive and wasteful linear economy cannot be the solution to the current ecological crisis it has contributed to create. Business schools have a tremendous opportunity to alert future business leaders to be innovative and carry out more responsible ways of doing business. I feel proud of being a lecturer in this public value driven business school and empowered to deliver inspiring and thought-provoking circular-economy-oriented teaching.”