In search of a circular supply chain archetype – a content-analysis based literature review

Luciano Batista, Michael Bourlakis, Palie Smart, Roger Maull

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (SciVal)


This paper addresses questions of how extant research discourses concerning the sustainability of supply chains contribute to understanding about circularity in supply chain configurations that support restorative and regenerative processes, as espoused by the Circular Economy ideal. In response to these questions, we develop a content-based literature analysis to progress theoretical body of knowledge and conceptualise the notion of a circular supply chain. We derive an archetypal form from four antecedent sustainable supply chain narratives - ‘reverse logistics’, ‘green supply chains’, ‘sustainable supply chain management’ and ‘closed-loop supply chains’. This paper offers five propositions about what the circular supply chain archetype represents in terms of its scope, focus and impact. Novel insights lead to a definition of circular supply chain and a more coherent foundation for future inquiry and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-451
Number of pages14
JournalProduction Planning & Control
Issue number6
Early online date21 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 May 2018


  • Circular Economy
  • Circular supply chain
  • restorative processes
  • sustainability perspectives of supply chains


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