Digital Theses Archive


Tesi etd-05292021-190623

Type of thesis
The role of environmental management systems in the transition towards a circular economy
Scientific disciplinary sector
Istituto di Management - MANAGEMENT
relatore Prof. IRALDO, FABIO
Membro Prof.ssa SEGHIERI, CHIARA
  • Circular Economy
  • Dynamic Capability
  • Environmental Management System
  • Green Human Resource Management
  • Performance
  • Sustainability
Exam session start date
Circular economy has become worldwide an effective pathway for sustainable development against the linear model. It has become also one of the main strategies to face environmental issues. Nevertheless, organisations face barriers in the transition towards a circular economy. To enable circular economy, organisations have started acting on their capability to improve their sustainability management. Sustainable consumption and production tools have been identified both as booster of circularity and as supporter for the achievement of sustainable development goals. Environmental Management System, Green Public Procurement, Ecodesign Directive, Ecolabel, Energy Label and Environmental Technology Verification have been considered both by academic and practitioners as tools useful to promote circular economy. In particular, environmental management systems have often been adopted to tackle environmental challenges, but, more recently, scholars have proposed dynamic capabilities as a strategy to foster circular economy initiatives. Although the attention on sustainable consumption and production tools and circular economy has growth, no studies have investigated the linkages between these two topics. <br>To bridge this gap, the aim of this doctoral thesis was to provide a literature review on the integration between circular economy and sustainable consumption and production tools. The revisited material consisted of 455 studies and was evaluated using a systematic approach. Considering the level of internalisation of the environmental management system, this doctoral thesis investigated the contribution of dynamic capabilities to organisation performance and circular economy implementation. It also aimed at assessing the effects of green human resource management to circular economy, to environmental and economic performance and to the environmental reputation of an organisation. The distinct role that different green human resource management practices (i.e., green recruiting, green training and involvement, and green performance management and rewarding) have on organisation performance were also tested. This doctoral thesis investigated then the moderation role of the level of diffusion of the circular economy in the context where organisations operate. Both these last topics were investigated analysing more than 800 European organisations registered with the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme by administering a survey.<br>By critically analysing 35 papers, the thesis identified environmental management systems and ecodesign as the tools with the highest level of integration with circular economy, while the other tools seem to be characterized by a “stand-alone” approach. This doctoral thesis proved that dynamic capabilities contribute to the internalisation of the standard, which consequently improves the overall organisation performance and circular economy adoption. In addition, while dynamic capabilities directly influence the circular economy and environmental performance of an organisation, EMAS internalisation is crucial for a better economic performance and environmental reputation. The thesis assessed also the contribution of sensing, seizing and reconfiguring capabilities to the internalisation of the environmental management standard proving their crucial role in the integration of the standard’s requirements. The results demonstrated that green human resource management positively influence all the organisation performance, even though with some difference between each single green human resource management practice. Moreover, green human resource management contribute to the transition towards a circular economy without being influenced by external factors such as market demand, competitors’ commitment or technological support to circularity.<br>However, the in-depth analysis of the results highlighted that there is still room for improvement of scholars’ contribution on the integration between sustainable consumption and production tools and circular economy. <br>This doctoral thesis identified three main areas for future research agenda in order to spur further academic and technical debate. The first major area concerns the role of Environmental Management System in increasing organisations’ circularity; The second main area includes Ecodesign Directive and Environmental Technology Verification in the design and manufacturing processes of the products; the third main area focuses on Green Public Procurement, Ecolabel and Energy Label in driving greener consumption by setting products’ circular criteria.