Limits to Sustainable Development Goals: Discussing Lessons from Case Studies in (Un)sustainable Production

Helen Kopnina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Closed-loop production strategy, which aims to retain the highest utility and value of products, components, and materials at all times, aims to address resource depletion as part of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 12, concerned with “responsible consumption and production.” The circular economy is based on the 9R principles, supporting closed-loop systems, such as the circular economy and Cradle to Cradle (C2C), promising absolute decoupling of resource consumption from economic activity. However, while the SDGs single out “inclusive economic growth” as an overarching aim, economic growth is the cause of unsustainability, and absolute decoupling is impossible. This chapter addresses broader lessons from the critical assessment of products that strive toward or claim full circularity. This chapter discusses some supposedly “circular” or C2C products analyzed by business students. These case studies have taught the students more significant lessons concerning the limitations and paradoxes of production. The discussion section delves into the subject of how applying “ideal” and “realistic” circularity principles can help students to develop critical thinking about the SDGs in general and “responsible production and consumption” in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTowards a Circular Economy
Subtitle of host publicationTransdisciplinary Approach for Business
EditorsAldo Alvarez-Risco, Marc A. Rosen, Shyla Del-Aguila-Arcentales
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783030942939
ISBN (Print)9783030942922
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameCSR, Sustainability, Ethics and Governance (CSEG)
ISSN (Print)2196-7075
ISSN (Electronic)2196-7083


Dive into the research topics of 'Limits to Sustainable Development Goals: Discussing Lessons from Case Studies in (Un)sustainable Production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this