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Circular and Digital Economies: The dual transition

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Executive Summary

Lead contributor: Dr. Saman Sarbazvatan

This chapter sheds light on the evolving dynamics of the markets and economies resulting from the transition to the Digital Economy and the urgency to accelerate the transition to the Circular Economy by harvesting the already established digital enablers. The increasing awareness and attention to the imperative of the transition to the Circular Economy coincide with the ongoing transition to the Digital Economy, providing groundbreaking multi-dimensional innovation opportunities for startups, companies, industries, markets, and nations, across the public, private sectors, globally.

This chapter helps readers to stay abreast of the rapidly evolving dynamics of The Dual Transition of Digital and Circular Economies, strengthen their innovation capacity, and design action plans to reinforce resilient competitiveness strategies at the micro and macro landscapes.

This chapter starts with a brief overview of the exacerbating social, economic, and environmental challenges as the consequences of technologically empowered Industrialization under the Linear Economic Model and our unsustainable sourcing, production, and consumption patterns. Following this introduction, The Digitally Enhanced Circular Economy Alternative is introduced and explored as a prominent means for designing and implementing innovative solutions in response to the threatening aftermath of our unsustainable practices. Digital Transformation, Mass Integration of Industry 4.0 Technologies, and the Forthcoming Digital Economy are explored further as major sources of unprecedented opportunities to attain this objective from micro and macro perspectives.

This chapter unfolds the drivers of the Dual Transition to the Digital and Circular Economies and delves into the significant role that technology plays in reinforcing Sustainable Competitiveness and promoting United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Circularity as Competitive Edge and Policy Initiatives and Strategies are explored further as other predominant drivers, providing significant support to forward-thinking leaders, entrepreneurs, decision-makers at the industry, national, and regional scopes, to stay at the forefront of the emerging opportunities as a result of this Dual Transition.

Following a profound analysis of the above over seven astute sections with examples and use cases, the final part of this chapter summarizes the discussions by providing Key Takeaways and Actionable Insights for researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, firms, industry and market leaders, and decision-makers to capitalize on a myriad of innovation opportunities emerging from the Dual Transition to the Digital and Circular Economies. This chapter helps avant-garde thinkers, progressive leaders, and forward-looking decision-makers to surf on the Emerging Trends of the Enabling Technologies of Industry 4.0 for capturing the cutting-edge potentials provided by them and advance the Circular Economy imperative effectively and more efficiently while strengthening their innovation capacity and gaining unique competitive advantage.

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Discover what's inside

Repercussions of Linear Economy

Technologies have been instrumental in driving the Industrial Revolutions and the evolution of our economies and societies. However, the threatening aftermaths of this process vividly question our intelligence. But before working on the solution, we need to understand the underlying factors of this failure.

The Digitally Empowered Circular Economy Alternative

Digital Enablers build visibility into value chains and intelligence into assets and provide solutions to track, monitor, manage, and utilize resources more efficiently, driving the Dual Transition. Learn more about how technologies connect and engage biological, physical, and digital realms.

The Forthcoming Digital Economy

The mass integration of Industry 4.0 Technologies and the accelerating rate of Digital Transformation are forcefully driving the forthcoming Digital Economy. Learn more about the innovation opportunities brought by this trend to accelerate the transition to the Circular Economy.

Digitally Empowered Sustainable Competitiveness

Technology reinforces sustainable environmental, social, and economic competitiveness by empowering institutions and infrastructure, strengthening social, intellectual, and natural capitals, and reinforcing the innovation ecosystems, markets, and human capital. Discover how the digitally empowered sustainable competitiveness can facilitate the Dual Transition.

Digitally Empowered SDGs

Technology facilitates attainment of Sustainable Development Goals by providing empowering digital infrastructure and tools for data informed design and deployment of solutions, strategies, and programs. Learn more about the role of digitally empowered SDGs in promoting the Dual Transition.

Policy Initiatives and Strategies as the Drivers of the Dual Transition

Policy Initiatives and Strategies facilitate purpose-driven innovation by providing empowering ecosystems and resources to innovative projects and initiatives. Explore how the keen minded entrepreneurs, executives, and decision makers can leverage this support to innovate and drive the Dual Transition.

Circularity as Competitive Edge

In addition to providing a prominent framework to drive social, economic, and environmental sustainability and resilience, Circular Economy reinforces competitiveness at the micro and macro levels. Discover in which ways firms, industries, nations, and regions can leverage Circularity as Competitive Edge.

Innovation Opportunities in the Circular Economy

There are three different areas of focus on circularity, divided into 10 stages. Explore plenty of opportunities for leveraging digital enablers, investment, innovation, and policy initiatives and strategies for developing impactful, novel, and efficient ways to facilitate the Dual Transition


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Enrollment Information

  • Once you have enrolled, you will be given access to our Learning Management System.
  • The course is entirely online and self-paced. We estimate that the total effort required to be 3 hours.
  • You will be guided through the original content of the course with dynamic, rich, enjoyable, narrated, and easy-to-understand content. The course is divided into easily navigated sections focusing at each stage on the learning objectives to be achieved. Each section is followed by non-graded “knowledge check questions”, to help you ensure that you have successfully assimilated the content. You can go back and view the content as often as you like.
  • When you reach the end of the course, you will be awarded the Certificate of Completion.

What you will gain

  • Access to one Circular Economy course, with free access to the content for one year.
  • A digitally enabled, verifiable, and shareable certificate acknowledging your achievement.
  • One-year free membership in the Circular Economy Alliance Community, including access to Circular Economy Alliance members, resources, and events.
  • Special access to Circular Economy related events, research, resources, and news.

Please note:

  • In many EU countries, the cost of certification can be covered by personal or corporate “training accounts”. Please inquire within your organization or with the appropriate institution within your country for more information.


Circular Economy Alliance Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics

The Circular Economy Alliance platform, services, and products are designed to appeal to and be used by people from a wide variety of different backgrounds, countries, religions, and cultural norms. These diversity and inclusiveness are core values of the CEA, and we encourage our Community to embrace it and share it. That said, this geographic and cultural diversity can make effective communications and general policy definition a bit challenging.

That said, CEA is committed to advancing the transition to a just and inclusive Circular Economy which aims to decouple economic growth from resource use, eliminate waste by design, and tackle climate change. To achieve its mission and vision of a socially fair Circular Economy, CEA has adopted the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility and endeavours to promote the common good while creating value for all stakeholders. With this in mind, the Code of Conduct has been developed to ensure all activity on the platform and within the CEA community is mutually respectful. The Code of Ethics sets out the guiding ethical principles relative to all professional activities of the certified members of the Circular Economy Alliance, informs the actions of our partner network, and defines the conduct of CEA staff and persons acting on behalf of the Company.

The purpose of our Code of Conduct & Code of Ethics is to ensure that the Circular Economy Alliance platform (the Platform), products and services are inclusive and that we, our members, and our community uphold the principles and values linked to Circular Economy, social responsibility, sustainable development and all relevant domains, to ensure that people and the planet are not harmed in the name of profit, and that we all conduct ourselves with mutual respect.

Code of Conduct

The CEA Code of Conduct reflects the ethics and values of the Platform, product, services, and community. It has been prepared with members of the CEA community (the Community), content contributors, instructional designers, and administrators based on established best practices. With the involvement of our stakeholders, we will continue to update the Code of Conduct as we add new products, services, and activities and as we receive feedback from our learners and community members.

We cannot foresee all eventualities and align with all local regulations, so the Code of Conduct should indicate the nature of interactions and the social dynamic we would like to see on this Platform and within the Community. In the event of an issue not covered by this Code of Conduct, the CEA team will decide whether a behavior is acceptable or not, in a manner that is as fair and transparent as possible, while respecting the confidentiality of all involved.

This Code of Conduct applies to all activities on the Talent Learning Management Platform, the Circular Economy Alliance website, its social media pages (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Discord, etc.), including comments, forum posts, and private messages.

Certified Alumni, members of the Community, as well as candidates for Circular Economy certification are encouraged to adopt the following guidelines for conduct:

  • Contribute to maintaining a safe, supportive, and orderly online learning environment that is conducive to learning and to show respect and dignity to other persons and to property.
  • Contact or communicate with CEA administrators and other personnel in a respectful, positive manner.
  • Behave and communicate on and off the Platform in accordance with the principles of Circular Economy, social responsibility, and inclusiveness.
  • Help ensure all CEA members and personnel have a positive experience in all interactions with you.
  • Appropriate behavior we encourage is as follows: communicating and interacting with respect; demonstrating empathy and sensitivity; giving constructive feedback; acting in accordance with the principles of inclusiveness, that is, showing respect for other norms, cultures, life preferences; promoting the values and principles of Circular Economy, social responsibility, and sustainable development.
  • Maintain behavior free from all forms of bullying, harassment, and discrimination.
  • Other forms of inappropriate behavior that will not be tolerated include dangerous, inciteful, or hateful speech; harassment or intimidation; threats of violence; intentional disruption of online discussion, webinars, conference, or other events; retaliation; influencing or encouraging any of the above.
  • We are a learning community, united around the principles of Circular Economy. As such, we encourage experimentation, a growth mindset, and tolerance for failures, mistakes, or lack of understanding.
  • Despite our shared values, disagreements and misunderstandings are bound to occur in a community as diverse as the Community. In the event, have a calm discussion, ask for clarification, and don’t assume that someone is intentionally being offensive.
  • Please get in touch with the site administrators to report any conduct, posts, activity or content that you do not believe is in accordance with this Code of Conduct. We encourage the Community members to report any incidents that violate the Code of Conduct. The CEA team will respond in a timely manner, and the member who violated the Code of Conduct will be contacted directly. Please use the Contact Us link to report any breaches.
  • Please protect your own and other people’s privacy. Please be mindful not to post or otherwise share your own or other people’s personal information publicly online.
  • Unless otherwise stated, all content posted on the Talent Learning Management System is private and is not searchable online.
  • Unless otherwise stated, all content posted on the Community platform is publicly visible and searchable online.
  • If you delete your CEA Community account, you can request that your Community posts and private messages be removed or anonymized.
  • The website administrators may delete activity, comments, posts, and equivalent that do not adhere to the CEA Code of Conduct.
  • In the event of a breach of the Code of Conduct, we either issue a warning, announce an account suspension or, in the event of a grievous violation, we may announce account expulsion and removal from the platform and the Community.
  • If you are part of the Community, we share the same principles. Let’s share the responsibility for creating a positive dynamic on the Platform.

Code of Ethics 

Certified Alumni, members of the Community, as well as candidates for Circular Economy certification are strongly encouraged to uphold the highest standards of ethical norms in line with Circular Economy principles and values:

  • Act with transparency, honesty, integrity, and make the interests of society and the environment a priority, avoid any known conflicts of interest, and aim to create value for all stakeholders.
  • Promote the circularity and sustainability of the systems regulating economic life according to the principles of “people, planet and prosperity”.
  • Act with respect for others and the environment and practice their professional activities in an inclusive and non-discriminatory manner that upholds the values of equity, equality and tolerance.
  • Exercise their leadership and decision-making skills in the pursuit of establishing a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace and in society.
  • Act in a way that furthers the integrity of the discipline of Circular Economy and its representatives.

The code of conduct is regularly reviewed to reflect necessary adaptations that emerge from input received through our CEA members’ reporting or by changes to the prevailing regulatory framework.

Effective as of: 1 March 2022

Last revised: 28 February 2022

More detailed information can me found in the General Terms and Conditions and the Certifications Terms and Conditions.


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