The Role and Value of Data in Realising Circular Business Models – a Systematic Literature Review

Päivi Luoma, Anne Toppinen, and Esko Penttinen


business models, circular economy, value of data, data-driven, sustainability


Purpose: A systematic review of the literature on circular business models was performed, for synthesis of what it reveals about the role and value of data in those models. The increasing quantity of supply-chain and life-cycle data available has potential to be a significant driver of circular business models. The paper describes the current state of knowledge and identifies avenues for further research related to use of various forms of data in the models.

Design: A systematic review of literature on the use of data in circular business models was carried out, to inform understanding of the state of knowledge and provide a firm foundation for further research.

Findings: The literature reviewed points to fragmented understanding of the role and value of data in circular business models. Nonetheless, scholars and practitioners commonly see data as a driver and enabler of circular economy. The article identifies two distinct approaches to value for data as presented in the corpus and discusses what types of data seem to be valuable in a circular business-model context. Among the further research opportunities are work on data as a source of business-model innovation and on collaboration in capturing the value of data in circular business models. Value: The study provides new insight on the nexus of circular business models and data, and it represents one of the first comprehensive reviews addressing data’s value in a networked circular-economy context.