Call for Abstracts for a Special Issue on “Business Models for the Circular Economy” – Deadline 1st Sept 2017

Call for papers

Business Models for the Circular Economy –
Exploring a changing view on value creation

Guest Editors

Niels Faber (lead editor Special Issue), Romana Rauter,
Florian Lüdeke-Freund, Jan Jonker, and Rupert Baumgartner


This request for papers for the Special Issue of the International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility focuses on exploring Business Models for the Circular Economy. The Special Issue will consist of approximately seven papers.

The Special Issue’s primary topic is ‘exploring a changing view on inter-organizational value creation’. The traditional, economic view on value creation is increasingly being determined to be too restricted and limited for facing current societal and environmental challenges. In response, the multiple value creation perspective has emerged from the realm of sustainability as a concept that is able to address these challenges in a comprehensive and coherent manner in society. It is a perspective that, in addition to financial value, it also incorporates those that are social and environmental. One of the emerging trends in society is to explore this concept of multiple value creation under the heading of the circular economy (CE). In particular, the CE focuses on the material aspects of the economy and society, aiming at creating closed material and energy loops.

The vision of a CE, although not new, poses a broad range of new and rather unexplored challenges to entrepreneurs, managers, and other economic actors who attempt to implement concepts such as nature-inspired processes, products and services, the cradle-to-cradle process and product design, or bio-mimicry, for example. This list is not exhaustive. The idea of a CE builds mainly on fields such as industrial ecology, eco-design, and engineering. It poses the challenge of connecting CE concepts and the ways that entrepreneurs and managers can organize new forms of inter-organizational and multiple value creation.

In parallel, New Business Models (NBM) have developed that intend to construct multiple value creation and new forms of organizing that enable it. NBMs fundamentally differ from our current notion of business models and thus the ways that organizations are structured and how they function. They build on a set of principles related to the values created, offer a value proposition addressing these, and build and thrive on a specific and closely connected community. Various types of organizations that have adopted NBMs have been described in literature. Among these are social enterprises, co-operatives, multi-stakeholder platforms, or public-private partnerships. Each of these NBMs operates on the premise of multiple value creation. In addition to the CE, NBMs aim to answer the call for a more sustainable way of value creation in present society that is addressed by a community-based approach.

Types of contributions solicited

For this Special Issue, we welcome theoretical, conceptual, and empirical papers focusing on business models directly related to the concept of the circular economy. Papers from a broad variety of methodologies (e.g., literature review, qualitative and quantitative research methods), a broad variety of research fields (e.g., entrepreneurship, environmental studies, management, economics, social sciences, etc.), and a wide scope of domains (e.g., energy, health, agriculture, finance, industry, retail, etc.) are admissible as long as they are either developing theoretical and conceptual insights into the Circular Economy or are based on the extensive analysis of cases.

We encourage participants to the New Business Models Conference in Graz, Austria, occurring June 20 to June 23 2017, to submit their contributions for publication.

Themes on New Business Models for the Circular Economy

Scholars and practitioners should elaborate and contribute, but not limit themselves, to the following research questions concerning business models for the Circular Economy:

  • What are the barriers to the introduction and implementation of NBMs for the Circular Economy both in already-established firms as well as in newly-founded businesses?
  • What are the similarities and differences between ‘conventional’ business models that have the primary objective of profit generation and the so-called ‘new’ business models for the circular economy that have the main objective of multiple value creation and are based on different normative principles?
  • What are the mechanisms that drive successful NBMs for the Circular Economy?
  • What are potential motivations and incentives for various constituents to become involved in new ways of value creation and value sharing in the Circular Economy (e.g., cascading, governance, revenue models)?
  • How can already established NBMs for the Circular Economy be scaled-up? Which types of supporting mechanisms either in business or in government are needed in order to support scaling-up-processes that have the purpose of generating long-lasting effects and impacts?
  • How can NBMs for the Circular Economy be protected in niches to provide them with time and space for their development? Once developed, how can these NBMs be encouraged to leave their niches?
  • How are NBMs for the Circular Economy both solving and (potentially) creating new issues concerning the contribution to Sustainable Development?
  • How should new governance forms and strategies for business models for the Circular Economy be explored and developed to reflect alternative normative and subjective values, particularly in inter-organizational, regional, or even national or international contexts?

This list of themes and research questions is not exhaustive. The request for papers follows the theme of the conference at which the Circular Economy is addressed in an appropriate manner.


For this Special Issue, the following deadlines apply:

  • Conference NBM@Graz 2017: 20-23 June 2017
  • Extended abstract submission: 1 September 2017
  • Notification to authors: 1 November 2017
  • Full paper submission: 1 February 2018
  • Publication: estimated late fall 2018/early 2019

Notes to authors

Authors are invited to submit an extended abstract of 1,000 (maximally 1,200) words as an indication of intention to contribute. Please, in addition to a title and subtitle, add up to five keywords, a limited number of key references (max. 10), and a short biography of the authors (150-200 words).

The extended abstract should be sent to the guest editor,, no later than September 1, 2017. After providing comments to the extended abstracts, full papers must be submitted no later than February 1, 2018. Participants to the Second International Conference on New Business Models are strongly encouraged to submit their work (participation to the conference is not a requirement for submitting). Full papers are subject to blind peer-review. Selected and revised papers will be published in the Special Issue on New Business Models of the International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility (Springer Verlag).

We look forward to receiving your contribution.


If you have additional question that are not addressed in this call for papers, feel free to contact the lead-editor, Niels Faber (

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