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The importance of alliances in the transition towards a circular economy



Last Updated: 3-2018


We face enormous difficulties towards liveable urban areas. Urban areas consist of real estate, infrastructure, and a providing energy network. The transition towards a circular economy should be an answer to these difficulties. Public authorities could have a big influence in executing public projects in a sustainable way. Current forms of executing public projects are often focusing on shifting risks and responsibilities, and a predefined solution. Transition processes are characterised as unexpected and uncertain where a predefined solution is often not possible. Currently, most common used forms and transition processes are not matching. Building effective partnerships between public and private organisations is necessary to stimulate transitions. The public-private alliance is a form which is considered as suitable in transition projects. It should deal with increased uncertainty by a more flexible collaboration. Two empirical cases are examined in order to gain insight in how public-private alliances can stimulate the transition towards a circular economy. Several pre-conditions are derived from the public-private alliance in transition processes. When the transition towards a circular economy meet these pre-conditions, the public-private alliances stimulates by 1) transparency in interests, 2) transparency in the business case, 3) equal role in decision-making, 4) ongoing process of problem solving, 5) flexibility in the scope, 6) shared knowledge development, 7) supply chain involvement in the alliance, and 8) trust among involved stakeholders. The use of public-private alliances can be optimised to stimulate the transition towards a circular economy by 1) planning enough time but execute efficient, 2) discussing how you want to collaborate, 3) collaboration between involved organisations, 4) considering the alliance as separate organisation, 5) aligning specifications with impact for others in the supply chain, 6) involving an independent authority or employees.
This research contributes to the link between transition management and the public-private alliance. The public-private alliance is a collaboration form on operational level for transition management, and is valuable to stimulate the transition towards a circular economy.

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