Overcoming barriers to circular product design

Jason X. Wang, Haydn Burke, Abraham Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


The circular economy concept provides sustainability research with a new vision in place of the present linear economic model. This study focuses on product design, the starting point of applying circular thinking in supply chain functions. We investigate barriers to circular product design from a stakeholder perspective. Using thematic analysis and data collected from 15 semi-structured interviews in New Zealand, we identify four prominent barriers: financial constraints, inadequate infrastructure, government inaction, and global market barriers. The most influential stakeholder classes for overcoming the barriers are consumers, industry leaders, and governments. Circumventing measures lie in sustainable end-of-life product and waste management, resource circularity, modularity and standardization in design, and supply chain collaboration. Based on these new insights, we develop a roadmap for circular product design, providing practical guidance for businesses and policymakers. We also add to research on stakeholder theory by exploring its descriptive aspect in the context of a transition to circular economy at the supply chain level.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108346
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Early online date29 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


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