Trash to Treasure: A Multiple Case Study of Finnish Companies That Create Economic Value from Waste Materials

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dc.contributor Aalto University en
dc.contributor Aalto-yliopisto fi
dc.contributor.advisor Halme, Minna Miller, Elizabeth 2018-06-29T10:12:56Z 2018-06-29T10:12:56Z 2018
dc.description.abstract Circular economy, and particularly business models that can facilitate it, is a growing topic in academic literature. However, there have been few case studies to examine how circular economy business models are put into practice. This study fills that gap by studying five Finnish companies that create economic value from waste materials: Durat, which makes solid surface materials with 30% pre-consumer plastic; Finlayson, which makes home textiles and now has product lines made in part from waste materials; UPM, which produces pulp, paper and energy and has a zero solid waste goal that has led to the productization of some industrial byproducts; Palpa, which manages Finland's take-back system for beverage containers and sells what it collects; and TouchPoint, which makes workwear from sustainable fabrics, including some made from waste materials. This study uses an exploratory multiple case study research design using heterogeneous sampling to find circular economy trends that transcend individual industries. The interviews and archival materials were analyzed using thematic analysis to identify drivers for companies to adopt circular economy business models and gatekeepers that can either help or hinder the implementation of those models. The findings were positioned within Boons and Lüdeke-Freund's four business model elements: supply chain, customer interface, financial model and value proposition. The study found that circular economy initiatives bring different value propositions for the company, its customers, its partners and the environment. New networks and partnerships are essential for implementing circular economy initiatives, and these might be new symbiotic relationships with existing members of the supply or value chain. The role of services is growing in circular economy-minded companies, but those services must make end user participation easy and include a consumer education component. The financial impacts are ambiguous and affect companies differently depending on their structures. Increased costs are possible, but there can also be financial benefits, especially for companies that can attract sustainability-oriented investments and/or for companies explicitly founded on offering sustainable products. This study also found that business models operate as systems, rather than as a collection of discrete elements as the business model canvas representation suggests, that work together to create a virtuous cycle of ever-rising investments and profits. Sustainable business models (including circular economy ones) are intended to also create a second virtuous cycle of positive environmental change. However, for companies that are part of complex, global supply chains, the definition of material sustainability may be ambiguous because they cannot always identify the ecosystems from which their materials came, thus limiting their positive environmental impacts. en
dc.format.extent 90
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.title Trash to Treasure: A Multiple Case Study of Finnish Companies That Create Economic Value from Waste Materials en
dc.type G2 Pro gradu, diplomityö fi Kauppakorkeakoulu fi School of Business en
dc.contributor.department Johtamisen laitos fi
dc.subject.keyword circular economy en
dc.subject.keyword sustainability en
dc.subject.keyword business models en
dc.subject.keyword case study en
dc.identifier.urn URN:NBN:fi:aalto-201806293971
dc.type.ontasot Master's thesis en
dc.type.ontasot Maisterin opinnäyte fi
dc.programme Creative Sustainability en
dc.subject.helecon sustainability en
dc.subject.helecon kiertotalous fi
dc.subject.helecon liiketalous fi
dc.subject.helecon mallit fi
dc.ethesisid 17241
dc.location P1 I fi

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