Lost in Transition? Drivers and Barriers in the Eco-innovation Road to the Circular Economy

Ana de Jesus, Sandro Mendonça

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

630 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding which drivers and barriers exist in the development of a circular economy (CE) is a relevant and timely endeavour. The aim of this paper is to contribute to this debate by analysing evidence regarding the different factors helping and hampering the development of a CE. Specifically, this paper focuses on the eco-innovation (EI) pathway towards a CE, and tries to coordinate available but fragmented findings regarding how “transformative innovation” can foster this transition while removing obstacles to sustainability. Drawing upon a new corpus of both academic and non-academic literature, this work offers a framework for analysis, as well as an evidence-based survey of the challenges, for a green structural change of the economy. We argue that the combination of the innovation systems’ view with the more recent “transformation turn” in innovation studies may provide an appropriate perspective for understanding the transition to a CE. Ultimately, the paper aims to capitalise on these insights to contribute to the design of policy guidelines and organisational strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-89
Number of pages15
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Barriers
  • Circular economy
  • Drivers
  • Eco-innovation
  • Survey


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