Skip to main content
19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production – Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption

Papers Proceedings »

Identifying contingencies between the Norwegian public discourse on circular economy and new entrants’ discourse lines

Norwegian R&D policies increasingly support technological innovation through a combination of public subvention incentives, these schemes often require that companies fill very detailed application forms to explain the reasons behind engaging in new product development. Over the years, this archival data becomes a valuable source to explain why companies take strategic decisions as investing R&D resources in solutions framed within a circular economy (CE) discourse line. Extant research has set conceptual boundaries to CE, more research is indeed needed to define what constitutes entrepreneurial opportunities around CE and how nascent firms identify these as opportunities. We thus address the questions: 1. How circular economy is framed as opportunity for new entrants? 2. How public discourse shapes the characteristics of the discourse communities around CE? 3. What is the relation between the different discourse-communities surrounding CE and the effects for the emerging ventures?

The contrasts between the public discourse on CE and the results on innovative start-up developments is the basis for the identification of tension points in the Norwegian innovation system. We use content analysis as methodological design to answer this question. We divide our research in three parts: i) Developing of a dictionary of key semantical concepts about CE highly frequent terms, ii) Identifying the main discourses from the Norwegian government in regards to CE iii) Identifying the main “communities” of new ventures identifying opportunities around CE based on applications to the tax-incentive program SkatteFUNN

Our preliminary analysis so far have focused on the first and third points above (development of a conceptual dictionary of CE, analysis of the communities of CE entrepreneurs). In this paper we report therefore preliminary results while at the same time continue to carry out the coding of the public discourse materials (government plans, congress discussion and the Executive plans). To the best of our knowledge this is first systematic effort to create a dictionary of CE technological opportunities that go beyond the narrow understanding of CE as five to eight general principles summarized in the extant literature. On the other hand, the empirical testing of the dictionary of CE technological opportunities with archival data from a Norwegian public R&D support program sheds light on the complex diversity of the CE solutions. We identified indeed clear marked discourse communities of entrepreneurs developing CE solutions, in Norway, while some of them were expected (waste, biofuels), other communities were surprising in the context of CE (Oil & gas). Having detailed data about these different communities and each project in the period 2000-2018 will allow us to identify actors involved in these innovations but also later contrast with the construction of the CE discourse in Norway (1990-2018). As this is work in progress we are currently working in the analysis of this public discourse documents, a preliminary step before going further with a more detailed analysis of the tension points between public discourse on circular economy and resulting entrepreneurship outputs.

Roberto Rivas Hermann
Nord University

Are Jensen
Nord University

Mario Pansera
University of Bristol
United Kingdom


Powered by OpenConf®
Copyright ©2002-2018 Zakon Group LLC