A survey of Circular Economy initiatives in Portuguese central public sector organisations: National outlook for implementation

J Environ Manage. 2022 Jul 15;314:114982. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.114982. Epub 2022 Apr 15.

Abstract

The Circular Economy (CE) is generally understood as an opportunity to transform the current unsustainable linear economic system by redesigning the way organisations provide goods and services rethinking how society consumes and uses those resources. In this context, the public sector is mainly recognised as an actor enabling the implementation of a sustainable CE through governmental interventions and policy initiatives. However, there is a lack of studies considering the public sector at an organisational level. CE in organisations includes a wide range of different practices that are important to examine in order to analyse the CE implementation process. Consequently, this study aims to characterise the current state of implementing circular practices and supporting strategies in central public sector organisations. To fulfil this aim, a questionnaire survey was sent to the organisations pertaining to the Portuguese Central Public Administration, as surveys are valuable tools to systematically collect information on various topics. The results demonstrate a relatively low level of implementation. Circular practices such as purchasing remanufactured or used items, using sharing platforms, increasing the efficiency of buildings, adopting green human resources and collaborative initiatives for circularity, and assessing and communicating about CE activities have presented low levels of adoption. At the same time, waste collection for recycling and dematerialisation practices showed good implementation levels. There is, thus, immense potential for further implementation of circularity in central public sector organisations in Portugal. This research contributes to deepening the understanding of the extent to which circular practices are embedded in public sector organisations and identifying the main implementation strengths and weaknesses. This research has the potential to help practitioners and researchers in the transition towards circularity in identifying circular opportunities in their organisations and in building a vision to further implement circularity in public sector organisations.

Keywords: Circular economy; Implementation; National survey; Operations; Public sector; Strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Portugal
  • Public Sector*
  • Recycling*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires