Economic sustainability is:
– The basis for sustainable development;
– The capacity of an economic system to generate lasting growth in economic indicators, through the creation of income and employment to sustain the population;
– The pursuit of economic efficiency through careful management of non-renewable resources;
– The development of a perspective that regulates investment and work with a view to intra- and inter-generational equity, sustainable in the long run (Brown et al., 1987).
When talking about sustainability, it is crucial to consider the strong link between economic growth and natural resources.
The increasing exploitation and consumption of natural resources has accentuated the interdependence between the economic and environmental systems.
Within this framework, the concept of circular economy – as a sustainable development model that combines economic needs with social and environmental ones – is gaining ground.
The circular economy envisages overcoming the limitations of the linear “take – make – use – dispose” economy, through a regenerative approach in which products are designed to have a long life span and to be reused, renewed, re-manufactured and finally, recycled (CE, L’economia circolare. Collegare, generare e conservare il valore, 2014).
Indeed, the circular economy can be considered as a new paradigm of sustainability.
Pursuing the principles of the circular economy represents an opportunity to create new business models.
Fundamental is the role of companies that set off on sustainability pathways involving all company phases, encompassing Research and Development, production and consumption.
Circular economy business models refer, for instance, to product supplies:
– From environmentally-sustainable raw materials;
– That are traceable and from recycled materials;
– That are technologically designed to last a long time.
This is all whilst being certified and labelled using international tools of reference to quantify energy consumption and environmental impact.