Module: Sustainable shopping in the circular economy

“If you want to be a great company today, you also need to be a good company.” Jeffrey R. Immelt, CEO General Electric.



We are now experiencing the dawn of an immense shift, slowly unfolding over the next years and decades: linear economy becoming circular. Society is now faced with hard questions, following years of boundless consuming and the resulting harmful emissions. One person may see the increasing scarcity of resources and environmental damage as a call to action. Others could be more interested in all the possible new opportunities. Retailers in the circular economy have new roles to fulfil, after all — they can start developing new business models to become intermediaries between producers and consumers.


At the moment, retailers determine their profits based on the sales of many different goods. In the long-term future, this may change, and profit would be derived from offering new services. There is a trend — slowly, but surely — for producer, (web) stores and consumers to be increasingly prepared to take on the responsibility of a more sustainable society.


In this chapter, we will discuss the concepts of “circular” and “sustainable,” which are often deemed inseparable.


Topics in this module:

  • Traditional economy versus Circular economy
  • Circular and sustainable
  • Use of resources in th elinear economy
  • Use of resources in retail
  • The ten R's of the circular economy
  • Packaging
  • Transport
  • Emissions
  • Walmart study
  • New rules in the circular economy
    • producers turn into service suppliers
    • consumers opportunities: buyers versus users
      • pay-per-use
      • buy-repurchase
      • buy-sell-on
      • New business models
      • The circular retail paradox
      • The paradox for business
      • The paradox for government
      • The paradox for consumers


Target group: Manager

Module level: Starter

Version | 13 - 08 - 2018

Part of course: Ecommerce Strategy (ECON2)

Topics in this module: Ecommerce Packaging, Ecommerce Platforms, Ecommerce Strategy, Market Places, Online Marketing, Online Merchandising, The New Store