Retail Design in the Transition to Circular Economy: A Study of Barriers and Drivers

Mia Münster*, Sönnich Sönnichsen, Jesper Clement

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Research shows that much of the blame for waste and lost resources can be traced to the design phase. The implementation of Circular Economy (CE) has the potential to reduce waste by encouraging reuse of resources in a closed loop. Given that designers are involved in the design process, this paper investigates whether they are properly equipped to take responsibility for the shift toward CE. A group of professional designers from the field of retail design were therefore interviewed, with a view to discovering and understanding impediments to the implementation of CE; the study presents a snapshot of these designers' knowledge of CE. It identifies categories of drivers and barriers to CE, as seen from the designer's perspective; shows conflicting interests within these categories; describes the interaction of collaborators; and, finally, suggests roles that each of these players might be expected to play in an eventual transition to CE. Findings suggest that while designers understand their responsibility in accomplishing this transition, they lack tools and confidence to engage in the recycling process. Despite being enthusiastic about CE and recognizing the need for change, they do not reckon themselves capable of leading that transition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number132310
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: 22 May 2022.


  • Circular economy
  • Green marketing
  • Retail and hospitality design
  • Designer role
  • Collaborators
  • Ecosystem

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