A2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review
A systematic literature review of the transition to the circular economy in business organizations : Obstacles, catalysts and ambivalences (2021)

Sarja, M., Onkila, T., & Mäkelä, M. (2021). A systematic literature review of the transition to the circular economy in business organizations : Obstacles, catalysts and ambivalences. Journal of Cleaner Production, 286, Article 125492. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.125492

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Sarja, Milla; Onkila, Tiina; Mäkelä, Marileena

Journal or series: Journal of Cleaner Production

ISSN: 0959-6526

eISSN: 1879-1786

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 286

Article number: 125492

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.125492

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/73654


There is a need for a transition from unsustainable linear business models to a more sustainable circular approach, called the circular economy. To promote this need, a deeper understanding of which issues hinder organizations’ transition to the circular economy and which ones catalyse it is needed. A systematic literature review was performed on the business implementation of the circular economy and 69 articles covering the topic were found. The review identifies different types of catalyst, obstacles and ambivalent factors influencing circular economy implementation in business. This study contributes to research on circular economy implementation at business organizations by providing understanding on the role of these factors in supporting or hindering the change. This study also opens discussion on ambivalent factors that in certain contexts can act as a catalyst to and in others as a hindrance to circular economy. This understanding further enables identification of the origins of these different types of factors, especially concerning their intraorganizational or interorganizational role. The study further identifies gaps to be studied in future research.

Keywords: circular economy; transitional phase; business models; barriers; systematic reviews

Free keywords: circular economy; business transition; catalysts; obstacles; systematic literature review

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-17-06 at 12:19