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The socio-ecological foundations of the Circular Economy in the era of the Anthropocene

ESI State of the Art talk by Featured ESI Academic of the month: Professor Stefano Pascucci

An Environment and Sustainability Institute research event
Date31 October 2022
Time13:00 to 14:00
PlaceEnvironment and Sustainability Institute

Hybrid event (MS Teams and ESI Trevithick Room). The ESI community will be sent the Teams link in a calendar invitation. If you are not part of this list and would like to attend, please email esidirector@exeter.ac.uk

Professor Stefano Pascucci is the Professor in Sustainability and Circular Economy at the University of Exeter Business School. He is also a Visiting Professor in Sustainable Business at the University of Auckland Business School.

The Anthropocene is defined as the ‘era of the humans’, an unprecedented geological period for which human actions have irreversible consequences on the Earth ecosystem. The idea of the Circular Economy (CE) has emerged as one of the most important ways in which we can respond to the challenges of the Anthropocene. It incorporates efforts to keep socio-economic activities within planetary boundaries, mimicking living systems and industrial ecologies. Scholars and practitioners have often depicted CE as a ‘vehicle’ to navigate the uncharted territory of the Anthropocene, and guide much needed socio-technological and organizational innovations for example by: (i) designing products for slowing, narrowing, and closing loops of resource use; (ii) delivering performance and functionality rather than ownership.

However, these interventions focus on business strategies and neglect the opportunity to better understand the socio-ecological foundations, and impacts, of CE. In addition, pioneers of CE tend to accept business logics and collective responsibility for externalities, rather than challenging them. An alternative approach would locate CE within the ambiguities and contradictions of capitalistic political economy, and to understand the eroding of natural ecosystems as a signal of the dysfunctions of unlimited production and consumption. This, in turn, points to the potential impossibility of CE as a complete solution to the challenges of the Anthropocene. It highlights the need to (re-)think our relation to nature and to prioritise understanding the intricate entanglement of social and ecological dimensions of the Anthropocene. It calls on us to go beyond the boundaries of current approaches to CE.


ProviderEnvironment and Sustainability Institute
Registration informationHybrid event (MS Teams and ESI Trevithick Room). The ESI community will be sent the Teams link in a calendar invitation. If you are not part of this list and would like to attend, please email esidirector@exeter.ac.uk
CostFree
OrganizerEnvironment and Sustainability Institute
Tel+4401326259490
Email

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