Analysing the stimulation of the Circular Economy from theCO2 Performance Ladder

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It remains unclear how organisations work with CO2 and Circular Economy (CE) management and measurement. Furthermore, it is unknown if a CO2 management tool can stimulate or hinder organisations CE developments. Research was conducted on the aforementioned issues with SKAO, who govern a CO2 management tool named the CO2 performance ladder (CO2PL). 9May 2018)

Theory was consulted to frame the understanding of environmental management tools and CO2 and CE management and measurement. Nineteen interviews took place with CO2PL users to understand their perceptions and the context of CO2 and CE management and measurement. They were also asked if they feel the CO2PL stimulates or hinders CE. Results were analysed based on themes from the literature and the results, i.e. a combined deductive and inductive approach.


The results found that the maturity and context of CO2 and CE management can affect how organisations perceive them. There was also mixed understanding of how CE management reduces CO2 emissions, or increases them. This highlighted the need for organisations to focus on the transition away from fossil fuel use, to create mutual benefits for CO2 and CE management. Organisations are more mature and stringent regarding CO2 measurement. They had different methods for measuring CE, but also, some were not measuring. Organisations are conflicted by seeking simple but representative measurements of CO2 and CE. Many interviewees see the CO2PL as CO2-focused, and not directly stimulating CE. Others find the tool encourages them to work better in the supply chain, which has a knock-on effect to CE developments. These findings inspired recommendations for SKAO.