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Digital Solutions for Promoting a Circular Economy and Sustainability

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 4 November 2024 | Viewed by 273

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Higher School of Technology and Management, Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, 4900-347 Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Interests: software engineering; model-driven architecture; traceability systems; sustainability; circular economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Higher School Technology and Management, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo (IPVC), Viana do castelo, Portugal
Interests: business process modeling; software engineering; data engineering; sustainability; traceability; circular economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Traditional linear business models, based on a “take-make-dispose” business process, are ultimately responsible for the degradation of Earth’s natural resources and climate change. Linear industrial processes are amongst the main causes of global warming.

One way to mitigate the harms that industry is causing to the environment is to engage in a circular economy (CE). A CE is an economic model that circularizes the base business process, replacing the ‘end-of-life’ concept with the ‘4Rs’ concept (reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering). While industries in the linear economy model harvest and extract materials for manufacturing products for consumers to buy, use and discard, the circular economy approach switches the ‘end-of-life’ idea with restoration and recycling, together with the use of renewable energy and other actions to promote self-sustainable functioning (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2013). CE is a restorative and regenerative industrial system designed to minimize waste production and maximize resource efficiency, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible (Geissdoerfer et al., 2017).

Because of this need for better sustainable industrial processes and supply chains, businesses in general are facing new challenges. Environmental impact (waste, water consumption, etc.) and social responsibility are now concerns that must prevail, not only for businesses, but also for consumers and governments. There is an increasing pressure for greater transparency in business processes, both intra- and inter-organizational ones. These challenges push organizations and supply chains into reengineering their business process, together with the adoption of technologies that help measure and minimize environmental and social impacts. This move may also promote a faster adoption of Industry 5.0.

Besides motivating organizations and governments to take action, a circular economy must engage a very important business partner who has been very dimmed in the linear economy model: the final customer. It is the final customer that is responsible for selecting and buying products with low environmental impact, using their products longer, repairing their products and, when the time comes, disposing of their products in a proper manner, namely, by delivering them for recycling.

Platforms that support the circular economy, promote a business change within organizations and engage customers in the circular economy and a more sustainable way of life are needed.

In this Special Issue, entitled “Digital Solutions for Promoting a Circular Economy and Sustainability”, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include, but are not limited to, digital solutions and emerging technologies (e.g., IoT or blockchain) for:

  • Business process re-engineering toward greater social and environmental sustainability;
  • Business process re-engineering toward a circular economy and traceability;
  • Intra- and inter-organizational business process integration;
  • Traceability in value and supply chains;
  • Promoting sustainability and a circular economy in any business sector (textile and clothing industry, car industry, building, energy, agriculture, food supply chains, marketing, etc.);
  • Engaging business partners, at any level of the value chain, to increase environmental sustainability and participate in a circular economy;
  • Engaging end customers to increase environmental sustainability and participate in a circular economy by using new types of consumer-targeted apps (e.g., using gamification techniques).

We look forward to receiving your contributions.


  1. Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Towards the circular economy. J. Ind. Ecol. 2013, 2, 23–44. (accessed on 17 July 2023).
  2. Geissdoerfer, M.; Savaget, P.; Bocken, N.M.; Hultink, E.J. The circular economy–A new sustainability paradigm? J. Clean. Prod. 2017, 143, 757–768. (accessed on 17 July 2023).

Prof. Dr. António Miguel Rosado da Cruz
Prof. Dr. Estrela Ferreira Cruz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.



  • sustainability
  • circular economy
  • process traceability and transparency
  • circular business models
  • extending products’ lifespan
  • sharing economy
  • sustainable intra- and inter-organizational business processes
  • engaging business partners in a circular economy
  • engaging the end customer in a circular economy
  • emerging technologies (e.g., IoT or blockchain) for sustainability

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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