The circular economy is designed to provide an alternative to the current, linear economy where consumers take, produce, consume, and waste resources. In a circular economy, all systems are designed to be regenerative so that materials flow back into the cycle after every use (i.e.: by creating products and services that are long-last- ing, and by reselling, donating, renting, refur- bishing, and recycling). The concept was coined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2010 and has found vast support from governments (e.g. the European Union’s Circular Economy Package) and the private sector (e.g., IKEA, Nestlé, and Procter & Gamble) who have launched circular business models and take-back systems for re- covering materials.
The Circular Economy Club (CEC) is the international network of 3,500 individuals and organizations working to implement circular economy concepts in 100 countries around the world. The club has 180 CEC Organizers worldwide who lead CEC chapters in their cities that bring together key stakeholders interested in the circular economy, and 50 experts who give free mentoring to startups and young researchers interested in embedding circularity. In March 2018, CEC launched the CEC Organizers program in universities, allowing professors and students to create clubs in their universities to embed circularity in the curriculum and initiate new lines of research in this area. CEC’s goal is to embed circularity in the curriculum of different degree programs, including business and engineering, in at least 200 universities by 2022. This case study examines progress to date in creating the CEC University Organizers program.