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Nicholas Vijverman, Bieke Henkens and Katrien Verleye

The world faces enormous challenges: rising populations and increased consumption have become unsustainable at a global scale in the current linear ‘take-make-waste’ economic model. This flawed model lies at the basis of several negative phenomena, ranging from social inequality to global climate change and is hence no longer fit-for-purpose. The circular economy offers an alternative. In this new economic model, which supports the United Nation’s sustainable development goals, three key principles are discerned: (1) preserving and enhancing natural resources, (2) keeping products in use, and (3) avoiding negative externalities such as waste and pollution. This chapter aims to generate a better understanding of how these circular economy principles can be implemented in a business context. Specifically, the emphasis is on the importance of engaging a multitude of actors involved in the production and delivery of products and services – including the end user – in a collaborative network to close loops in the circular economy. Furthermore, innovative technologies, such as the Internet of Things, are proposed as important enablers for engaging actors in the circular transition. From an engagement and technology perspective, this chapter contributes to a better understanding of the principles that could unleash the full potential of the circular economy.