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2023/2024  KAN-CCMVV1459U  Circular Economies for Sustainability (online course)

English Title
Circular Economies for Sustainability (online course)

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Martin Skrydstrup - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
This elective course is one of three courses, which supplement each other and form an integrated curriculum for the Minor in Circular Economy. However, students may also opt to take this elective independently of the other two courses in circular economy, which constitute the minor.
Main academic disciplines
  • Corporate governance
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Sociology
Teaching methods
  • Online teaching
Last updated on 15-02-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes:
  • Map different strategies for circularity according to different schools of thought, organizational forms and modes of benchmarking and summarize their contrasts and contestations.
  • Account for, and critically reflect upon, how valuation in terms of metrics and moralities matter for circular economies.
  • Explain the different approaches to governing circularity and critically assess their merits and limitations across organizational forms and spatial scales.
Circular Economies for Sustainability:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Written sit-in exam on CBS' computers
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration 4 hours
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Aids Open book: all written and electronic aids, including internet access
Read more here about which exam aids the students are allowed to bring and will be given access to : Exam aids and IT application package
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
The number of registered candidates for the make-up examination/re-take examination may warrant that it most appropriately be held as an oral examination. The programme office will inform the students if the make-up examination/re-take examination instead is held as an oral examination including a second examiner or external examiner.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Course content and structure

The concept of the circular economy (CE) has been proposed as the panacea for addressing the predicaments of climate change. By moving from open linear supply chains to closed circuits within inter-organizational networks, the promise is that CE will transform the global economy from the current take-make-waste paradigme to novel forms of secondary resource flows, which retain value in closed loops without leaks. This would elimiate waste altogher and reinvent how we produce and consume from the ground up. This course offers critical insights into the how, the what and the why of this grand idea called the CE.


Attracting increased attention from businesses, governments and civil society, the CE is an emerging field of study. This course presents the leading minds and the frontiers of CE. While the course will introduce advanced analytical approaches to circularity, it is strongly case based. The aim is to equip students with a conceptual tool kit to better understand why leading corporations and major cities have pledged their commitment to the circular economy. Going beyond the CE as operational cost reduction, strategic differentiation and corporate branding, the course introduces circularity as strategy, how to account for circularity, how to measure and finance circularity and the circular economy as an object of governance from cities to oceans. These are some of the lead themes you will need to command to assess circular start-ups, advise executive boards and municipalities regarding their aspirations to circularity and/or launch your own circular venture.





Description of the teaching methods
In the virtual classroom, teaching and learning is organized around live interactive lectures, guest speakers (tba), case work, student presentations and discussions. Instructor feedback is provided on those activities.

The classes will feature peer and group exercises in break-out sessions on Zoom for discussions in smaller forums, combined with student group presentations in plenary. The exercises will revolve around the mapping of circular concepts, evaluation of circular strategies, and accounting for - and critically reflecting on - various approaches to the circular economy. These exercises are designed to prepare the students for the final exam.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback is a critical part of the class and will be provided in connection with group presentations and case work, as well as in the form of peer-to-peer evaluation.
Student workload
Participation in lectures 33 hours
Preparation for classes, assignments & exercises 149 hours
Exam preparations 24 hours
Further Information



The course is strongly aligned and in fact comes right out of our Nordic Nine strategy, in so far the class cultivates the relationships between knowledge, values and interventions as practice and entrepreneurship akin to our new strategy.


Students build knowledge about the what of the circular economy and apply their acquired conceptual tools to critically assess interventions in the name of circularity and sustainability. This skillset aligns with "business knowledge placed in a broad context" ; "analytical rigor and curiosity"; and last but certainly not least "planetary challenges and the entrepreneurial mindset to tackle them". 

Expected literature

The primary literature for the course will be a collection of research articles published in the leading scholarly journals, supplemented with case studies. The specific selection of these articles will be introduced in the first class. Below, you will find a tentative list of reference literature, which informs the course as frame of reference/background literature. 


Reference literature (subject to change)


  1. Roberta De Angelis (2018) Business Models in the Circular Economy: Concepts, Examples and Theory. Palgrave.
  2. Mika Sillanpää & Chaker Ncibi (2019) The Circular Economy: Case Studies about the Transition from the Linear Economy. Academic Press, London.
  3. Catherine Weetman (2020) A Circular Economy Handbook for Business and Supply Chains
  4. Terry Tudor & Cleber Dutra (2020) The Routledge Handbook of Waste, Resources and the Circular Economy. Routledge, London.
  5. Brandao, Lazarevic & Finnverden (2020) Handbook of the Circular Economy. Edward Elgar Publishing. Cheltenham, UK.
  6. E. Worrell and Reuter Waltham editors (2014) Handbook of Recycling: State-of-the-art for practitioners, analysts, and scientists. MA, USA, Elsevier. 
  7. Michael Braungart & William McDonough From Cradle to Cradle: Re-Making the Way We Make Things (Vintage: [1988] 2009)
  8. Ellen MacArthur Full Circle: My life and Journey (Michael Joseph: 2010)
  9. Ken Webster (2017). The circular economy – A wealth of flows (Ellen MacArthur Foundation Publishing, 2nd Edition: 2017)
  10. Walter R. Stahel The Circular Economy: A User’s Guide (Routledge: 2019)
  11. Peter Lacy & Jakob Rutqvist Waste to Wealth: The Circular Economy Advantage (Palgrave: 2015)



Last updated on 15-02-2023