In search of a circular supply chain archetype – a content-analysis-based literature review

Luciano Batista*, Michael Bourlakis, Palie Smart, Roger Maull

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses questions of how extant research discourses concerning the sustainability of supply chains contribute to understanding about circularity in supply chain configurations that support restorative and regenerative processes, as espoused by the Circular Economy ideal. In response to these questions, we develop a content-based literature analysis to progress theoretical body of knowledge and conceptualise the notion of a circular supply chain. We derive an archetypal form from four antecedent sustainable supply chain narratives – ‘reverse logistics’, ‘green supply chains’, ‘sustainable supply chain management’ and ‘closed-loop supply chains’. This paper offers five propositions about what the circular supply chain archetype represents in terms of its scope, focus and impact. Novel insights lead to a definition of circular supply chain and a more coherent foundation for future inquiry and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-451
JournalProduction Planning and Control
Issue number6
Early online date21 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Production Planning & Control on 21 May 2018, available online at:


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