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2018/2019  KAN-CCMVV1726U  Circular Economic thinking in competitive businesses

English Title
Circular Economic thinking in competitive businesses

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 80
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Jesper Clement - Department of Marketing (Marketing)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Customer behaviour
  • Marketing
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 20-02-2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The objective is to provide the student with an opportunity to obtain insights in circular economic thinking based on business models, concepts, theories, and guest lectures given by practitioners’ hands-on experiences from real world projects and processes. Further the learning objective for the course is to enable student to manage competently in a context of multiple stakeholder collaboration, design and innovation processes with an entrepreneurial circular economic mindset. The student should be able to reflect academically on topics, processes, and work in a cross-disciplinary context. To be awarded with the highest mark (12), the student, with no or just a few insignificant shortcomings, must fulfill the following objectives:
  • To be able to apply relevant models, concepts and theories from the syllabus to a selected project.
  • To identify and analyze the relationships between these models, concepts and theories mutually in relation to a selected project
  • To access critically the value of these models, concepts and theories for developing circular economic innovations in relation to selected projects.
Circular Economic thinking in competitive business:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
Definition of number of pages:
Groups of
2 students 10 pages max.
3 students 15 pages max
4 students 20 pages max

Note that the exam is a group exam. If you are not able to find a group yourself, you have to address the course coordinator who will place you in a group.

Students who wish to have an individual exam might be able to write a term paper in the course. Please see the cand.merc. rules for term papers for more information.
Assignment type Report
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
15 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Re-take exam is to be based on the same report as the ordinary exam:

* if a student is absent from the oral exam due to documented illness but has handed in the written group product she/he does not have to submit a new product for the re-take.

* if a whole group fails the oral exam they must hand in a revised product for the re-take.

* if one student in the group fails the oral exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have the oral exam on the basis of the same product or if he/she has to hand in a revised product for the re- take.
Course content and structure

It was estimated that by 2020 will approximately 60% of the global population live in the urban environment, driven by a larger possibility to enjoy rising incomes, which increases consumers spending power, but at the same time is the rise of the consuming class also putting a larger pressure on the finite resources challenging a global sustainable production and consumption regime. On August 2nd 2017 did the global village meet this limit, a limit that is reached ever earlier each year. These types of challenges have been addressed in the last four decades by many researchers yet, it has just recently been addressed as a design failure of the linear economy, emphasizing limitations in the production and consumption system. This is not least visible in huge amounts of waste that linear production and consumption are causing, exemplified by Fresh Kills, a landfill in New York that until recently was the largest manmade construction in the world supersizing the Chinese Wall. It is now turned into to a huge recreational area, located on top of a waste mountain. In arears where there no longer is space for landfills, resources are incinerated, with the result that the value of finite resources is lost for future consumption and production re-cycles.

The EU-Commission published in 2015 the Action plan on Circular Economy, a road map that should kick-of an agenda where the objective is to change the linear production and consumption into a circular business model. A main reason for the EU-Commission to take this path, is that Europe does not hold large amount of mines where the natural minerals can be sourced, which entails that when the pressure on virgin resource extraction in the rest of the world will increase with higher and more volatile prices on minerals and materials, then will the European competitiveness in relation to the rest on the world decrease. In other words does the Commission see a future threat towards the labor market if production cannot be conducted in a competitive manner due to high prices on materials and other resources. From this follows that if European corporations wish to be competitive in the single inner- and the global market, then companies have to think differently and innovate new business models that have a different take on how resources are sourced for a continued production

The course therefore aims to give the student a deeper understanding of the competitive possibilities for businesses of the future given by circular economic thinking and the opportunities by developing and market circular designs and innovations are perceived as a competitive strategy.

Key business topics include the following related to circular economic thinking:

  • The role of business innovation

  • The role of multi-stakeholder networks supporting these innovations

  • Innovation, design and Strongly Sustainable Business Models

  • Stakeholder and project management as cultural and psychological processes forming the basis for these innovations

  • The role of eco-labels, political frameworks and quantification tools (LCA, PEF, MFA)

  • The role of incumbents inertia - Lock-In/Unlock in the pursue of Creating Markets

Description of the teaching methods
The intention of the teaching is, that students work in teams on presentations throughout the semester. These presentations should be directly based on the readings, the external presenter and the selected project case. Students will work in groups and each group will be paired with an opponent group. For the presentation group and opponent group will be picked randomly. The aim for the presentations is to clarify topics and arears of challenges related to the exam project.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback is given through one or more short assignments during the semester.
Student workload
Preperation 123 hours
Teaching 33 hours
Exam 50 hours
Last updated on 20-02-2018