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2023/2024  KAN-CCMVV2420U  Circular Economy – Transitioning to circular supply chains

English Title
Circular Economy – Transitioning to circular supply chains

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Second Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 80
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Philip Beske-Janssen
    Andreas Wieland - Department of Operations Management (OM)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Innovation
  • Supply chain management and logistics
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 15-02-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The course objective is to familiarize students with the relevance of transitioning the supply chains of current linear production systems to circular supply chains. Students will gain insights into the impacts of linear production systems and how circular economy and related supply chains are offering a first answer to these challenges. The course will introduce related theories and concepts underlying these circular production systems and present current and past developments in the area. It will enable them to assess and discuss the transition from linear supply chains to closed loops and to circular economy. They will learn how circular supply chains and related business models create value and how to identify opportunities and challenges in implementing a circular supply chain. The students will be able to:
  • Understand the need for changing the linear production
  • Reflect on the differences between linear and circular supply chains
  • Discuss theories and practices for circular supply chains
  • Identify challenges and opportunities for circular supply chains
  • Critically reflect on circular economy in its current implementations
Circular Economy - Transitioning to circular supply chains:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Duration 20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

Only handwritten notes on paper are allowed in the examination room. Students are not allowed to bring laptops, phones, tablets, calculators, or other electronic devices to the examination room. During the oral exam, the student will be asked different questions that cover the different learning objectives across the entire syllabus.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Course Content and structure

Present supply chain and sustainable supply chain operations have proven to be unable to sufficiently deal with the resulting environmental and social challenges. The adoption of circular supply chains, however, has the potential to offer a paradigm shift by changing our understanding of value creation, business models, and production processes. The course will introduce the basic concepts of sustainable supply chain management and critically reflect on the areas of improvement with this generally linear approach. Taking this criticism as a point of departure, the course will introduce students to the theories and concepts underlying circular economy and circular supply chains. By discussing and working with current and past developments in the topic, students will gain an understanding of where circular economy can offer solutions to the shortcomings of a mainly linear economic value chain model. This will enable students to assess and discuss the transition from linear to circular supply chain configurations.


The course objective is to provide students with an overview of current developments in the area of sustainability. Opportunities will be discussed that arise in connection with “closing the loop” of supply chains. Among other things, students will gain in-depth knowledge on relevant stakeholders, different logistics and procurement approaches, and tools that facilitate the implementation of circularity. Students will be able to assess their own work environment and identify possible opportunities that arise when adopting a circular business approach.


Key topics include the following related to the course “Circular Economy – Transitioning to circular supply chains”:


  • Introduction to supply chain management and linear production systems
  • Critical assessment of linear production systems
  • Introduction to circular supply chains and related concepts (e.g., biological and technical nutrients, Industrial Ecology)
  • Strategic design and implementation of circular supply chains
  • Stakeholder in a circular economy
  • Transformation of society and production systems
  • Performance analysis in circular supply chains


Description of the teaching methods
The course follows a mixed-methods approach with a high degree of student involvement and dialogue. Cases and exercises are analyzed and discussed to illustrate the theoretical foundation of the course and link it to practical examples.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will be provided as part of individual and group work on tasks, such as cases, and related discussions reflecting on the results. Quizzes will enable students to assess their understanding of course content.
Student workload
Lectures 33 hours
Preparation of cases 23 hours
Preparation for classes and exam 150 hours
Expected literature

Additional literature will be announced before the sessions.


Batista, L., Bourlakis, M., Smart, P., & Maull, R. (2018). In search of a circular supply chain archetype – a content-analysis-based literature review. Production Planning & Control, 29(6), 438-451.


Carter, C.R., Rogers, D.S., & Choi, T.Y. (2015). Toward the theory of the supply chain. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 51, 89-97.


Geisendorfer, M., Morioka, S.N., de Carvalho, M.M., & Evans, S. (2018). Business modes and supply chains for the circular economy. Journal of Cleaner Production, 190, 712-721.


Genovese, A., Acquaye, A.A., Figueroa, A., & Koh, S.C.L. (2017). Sustainable supply chain management and the transition towards a circular economy: Evidence and some applications. Omega, 66(B), 344-357.


Pagell, M., Wu, Z., & Wassermann, M.E. (2010). Thinking differently about purchasing portfolios: An assessment of sustainable sourcing. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 46, 57-73.


Seuring, S., & Müller, M. (2008). From a literature review to a conceptual framework for sustainable supply chain management. Journal of Cleaner Production, 16(15), 1699-1710.

Last updated on 15-02-2023