Section 3.1: Business, the economy and sustainability
Section 3.2: Linear economy and the limits to linear consumption
Section 3.3: Changing business contexts and the imperative to act
Section 3.4: Closing the loop – towards a circular economy
Week 3 Overview and Learning Objectives
This seminar shows how business is connected to the human and natural environment. Traditional, linear economic models have viewed the natural environment as a limitless source of raw materials and sink for our waste. However, we cannot expect to run our economy in this manner in perpetuity. Instead, we must look towards creating a circular economy and closing the loop on production, so that waste and energy use is minimized, and value is extracted at each stage of the economic system.
In addition to these ‘institutional’ factors, business sustainability is also driven by other pressures external to the firm, whether at the market, firm, or individual level.
At the end of this lecture, you should be able to understand how businesses, the economy and sustainability are interconnected. You should also be able to distinguish the characteristics of the linear and circular economy, identify the conditions which have spurred the shift from the former to the latter, define the types of leakages that can occur, and identify the key drivers of sustainability within businesses at different levels.