A Review of Reductionist versus Systems Perspectives towards 'Doing the Right Strategies Right' for Circular Economy Implementation

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Balanay, Raquel
Halog, Anthony
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2021
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https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/
Abstract

This systematic review examines the importance of a systems/holistic approach in analyzing and addressing the footprints/impacts of business-as-usual activities regarding the development of a circular economy (CE). Recent works on why current CE approaches have to be examined in terms of reductionist vs. systems perspectives are reviewed to tackle questions pertaining to the right or the wrong way of CE implementation. ‘Doing the right thing right’ is essential for sustainability—the ultimate goal of a CE, which must be viewed as a system to begin with. The limited reductionist approach overlooks and thus cannot prognosticate on the formidable unintended consequences that emerge from ‘doing the right things wrong’, consequences that become too costly to undo. The systems approach, being holistic, is complicated and difficult to pursue but open to exciting opportunities to integrate innovations in CE analysis and implementation. Complexity is an inherent downside of the systems approach. However, both approaches are complementary, as reductionist models can be combined to create a system of comprehensive analysis to correct the approach towards implementation of current CE initiatives. This review reports that advancements in systems analytical frameworks and tools are highly important for creating general guidelines on CE analysis and implementation.

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Systems
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9
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2
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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/).
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Applied economics
Ecological applications
Artificial intelligence
Software engineering
Information systems
Social Sciences
Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary
Social Sciences - Other Topics
reductionist approach
systems thinking
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Balanay, R; Halog, A, A Review of Reductionist versus Systems Perspectives towards 'Doing the Right Strategies Right' for Circular Economy Implementation, Systems, 2021, 9 (2)
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