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Digitalisation for the transition to a resource efficient and circular economy


  • Eva Barteková


  • Peter Börkey



Digital transformation is increasingly recognised as a means to help unlocking the benefits of more inclusive and sustainable growth and enhanced social well-being. In the environmental context, digitalisation can contribute to decoupling economic activity from natural resource use and their environmental impacts. This paper takes stock of the implications of digitalisation for the transition to a resource efficient and circular economy. Particularly, the paper provides insights into how digitalisation may fuel circular business models in the private sector, and discusses the role of digital technologies in addressing some important market failures that stand in the way to scaling up circular activities. It also offers a public sector perspective, by exploring how digital technologies support effective delivery of circular economy policies, enabling better policy design, reshaping government-citizen interaction and improving implementation of policies. Additionally, the paper maps potential unintended consequences of the digital circular transition, including general risks related to data, security, privacy and transparency, as well as rebound effects and unexpected regulatory interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Eva Barteková & Peter Börkey, 2022. "Digitalisation for the transition to a resource efficient and circular economy," OECD Environment Working Papers 192, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:envaaa:192-en
    DOI: 10.1787/6f6d18e7-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Adelina Berkemeier & Lisa Kühnel & Dominik Dürigen & Holger Hoffmann & Henning Zeidler & Angelika C. Bullinger & André Wagenführ, 2024. "SAMSax—An Innovative Living Lab for the Advancement of a Circular Economy through Additive Manufacturing Technologies," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 16(2), pages 1-22, January.
    2. Fouquet, Roger & Hippe, Ralph, 2022. "Twin transitions of decarbonisation and digitalisation: a historical perspective on energy and information in European economies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 115544, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Karlilar, Selin & Balcilar, Mehmet & Emir, Firat, 2023. "Environmental sustainability in the OECD: The power of digitalization, green innovation, renewable energy and financial development," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(6).
    4. Muhammad Salman Pathan & Edana Richardson & Edgar Galvan & Peter Mooney, 2023. "The Role of Artificial Intelligence within Circular Economy Activities—A View from Ireland," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(12), pages 1-18, June.

    More about this item


    circular business models; circular economy; digital technologies; market failures; rebound effects; resource efficiency;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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