Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Bowman Cutter

Reader 2

John Jurewitz

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Inspired by the way nature cycles waste in an ecosystem, the circular economy was developed as an alternative to the linear take-make-dispose model and designed to decouple economic growth from resource use. After developing a framework for what it means to be a business pursuing circularity, this thesis examines six different companies to explore the tension between the strategies and business models in theory and what business are implementing in practice today. This exploration continues with an in-depth analysis of the circular success of IKEA, finding that the gains from the circular economy for a large corporation are found within their own operations. With the company’s scale, IKEA is able to act as a transfer hub of technology and best practices, ultimately allowing the company to make a global impact.