Design of indicators for measuring product performance in the circular economy

Steve Cayzer, Percy Griffiths, Valentina Beghetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This paper explores measurement of product performance with respect to circular economy (CE) principles. Potential indicators are assessed with special attention given to questions such as: the variables that should be measured; how these variables should be assessed; and in which format they should be presented. The resulting considerations are used to develop a prototype whose design is informed through feedback from CE experts. The prototype uses a points-based questionnaire which converges into a simple final result with minimum and maximum limits. The selected approach is critically appraised, and its utility for decision-making discussed. The prototype is tested against a product in the chemical processing industry. The strengths include: ease of use; simplicity; speed; and an effective metaphor for the diffusion of CE principles. The limitations include: the opaque and potentially misleading nature of a single metric; superficial engagement with decision-making; and the reliance on context-specific assumptions. Future developments could include refining the approach to encourage deeper reflection, and generalisation of the approach to different industry sectors or sustainability frameworks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-298
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Engineering
Issue number4-5
Early online date26 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Circular economy
  • metrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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