Comparisons of stakeholders' influences, inter-relationships, and obstacles for circular economy implementation on existing building sectors

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Kaewunruen S., Teuffel P., DÖNMEZ ÇAVDAR A., Valta O., Tambovceva T., Bajare D.

Scientific Reports, vol.14, no.1, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41598-024-61863-0
  • Journal Name: Scientific Reports
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, Chemical Abstracts Core, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: Barriers, Business models, Circular buildings, Circular economy, Circular materials, Interrelationship, Life cycle perspective, Obstacles, Stakeholder engagement, Stakeholder influence, Sustainable assessment
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Buildings are energy- and resource-hungry: their construction and use account for around 39% of global carbon dioxide emissions; they consume around 40% of all the energy produced; they are responsible for over 35% of the EU's total waste generation; and account for about 50% of all extracted (fossil) materials. Therefore, they present a significant challenge to meeting national and international Net Zero targets of reducing greenhouse emissions and fossil resource use. The CircularB Project, is at the heart of this issue, which will underpin synergies of multi-scale circular perspectives (from materials, to components, to assets and built environments), digital transformation solutions, data-driven and complexity science, stakeholder behavioral science, and interdisciplinary capabilities towards achievable, affordable and marketable circular solutions for both new and existing buildings, for sustainable urban design, and for circular built environments across Europe. This paper contributes to the project by deriving new insights into the stakeholders’ influences, inter-relationships, and obstacles in the implementation of circular economy concepts on existing building stocks in Europe, which represent over 90% of whole building assets. In order to identify and derive the insights, our study is rigorously based on (i) a robust critical literature review of key documentations such as articles, standards, policy reports, strategic roadmaps and white papers; and (ii) interviews with relevant stakeholders and decision makers. Uniquely, our work spans across all scales of CE implementation from materials, to products and components, to existing building stocks, and to living built environments. The findings point out the current challenges and obstacles required to be tackled. Inadequacies of financial incentives and governmental enforcement (via policy, legislation, or directive) are commonly found to be the most critical obstacles found throughout Europe. Circular economy is the global challenge and not just a single country can resolve the climate issue without the cooperation of other countries. The insights thus highlight the essential need for harmonized actions and tactical/pragmatic policies promoted and regulated by the European Commission, national and local governments who can dominate the influence, promote inter-relationship, and overcome the barriers towards circular economy much more effectively.