How digitalization transforms the traditional circular economy to a smart circular economy for achieving SDGs and net zero

Kannan Govindan*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Promoting and achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) and net zero will be a high priority among companies and institutions. Several strategies are being developed to motivate and integrate SDGs and net zero-related approaches in companies, among which the circular economy (CE) is gaining momentum due to its documented impact on the elements of the SDGs and net zero. In fact, recent studies began to examine the relationship between CE, SDGs and net zero through different perspectives and with different areas of application. Although this relationship is primarily for the implementation of the SDGs and net zero targets, very few studies demonstrate concerns about CE-SDG-net zero relationships, specifically with smart CE. Although the traditional CE influences the SDGs and net zero positively, the traditional approach remains insufficient in several areas, including the lack of real-life information, where most CE practices and principles reside. To address this gap, a smart CE has been established by researchers to unleash the potential of achieving SDGs and net zero. To explore the smart CE and to tackle the existing literature gap, this study focuses on identifying the influence of smart CE with a focus on achieving SDGs and net zero with a single textile case study. The study is divided with four phases, as follows. The first phase attempts to select the best and most feasible CE practices that have a major impact on SDGs and net zero. The second phase understands the smart integrated success factors for adopting selected CE practices. The third phase evaluates and analyzes the overall common success factors for selected CE practices, and finally, the fourth phase validates the available results from the previous phases through feedback from various reliable sources. A case study methodology has been used in this study to understand the core of the research, while it should be noted this study is groundbreaking work in the field of research. Two different multi-criteria decision-making tools (MCDMs) have been used, namely the Best Worst Method (BWM) and the grey DEMATEL for selecting the best and most feasible CE practices and for evaluating the commonly collected success factors. Two theories (CSF theory and TOE theory) have been used to strengthen the study's theoretical background and contribution. To assist practitioners, the available results are discussed in a way that understands the relationship between the chosen CE practices and their considered influential success factors with SDGs and net zero through digitalization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103147
JournalTransportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • BWM
  • CE practices
  • CSF theory
  • Grey DEMATEL
  • Net zero
  • SDGs
  • Textile
  • TOE theory


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