Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) vs. Circular Economy (CE) implementation

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and circular economy (CE) are both relevant for promoting sustainable business development. We investigate the implementation of CSR and CE to obtain new practical and scientific insights.


  • Lead school Business School
  • Additional schools School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Institute Institute for Sustainable Business
  • Funding organisation BFH
  • Duration (planned) 01.12.2022 - 31.05.2024
  • Project management Dr. Maria Franco Mosquera
  • Head of project Prof. Dr. David Risi
  • Project staff Dr. Maria Franco Mosquera
  • Keywords Corporate social responsibility (CSR), Circular economy (CE), Implementation, Case studies


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and circular economy (CE) are both relevant for strengthening sustainability at the organizational level and thus promoting sustainable business development. However, how CSR and CE can be implemented in companies remains largely unexplored.

Course of action

We rely on qualitative case study research to fill the gap in the organizational implementation of CSR and CE: By empirically comparing the implementation of CSR and CE, we develop novel insights with practical and scientific relevance. To this aim, our research finds answers to the following questions: (1) What are the different organizational mechanisms in CSR and CE implementation? (2) Which mechanisms facilitate or hinder the respective implementation? (3) How does the influence of a particular mechanism differ in the respective implementation of CSR or CE?


A careful evaluation of both concepts exemplifies how to manage CE and CSR simultaneously, i.e., using synergies between CSR and CE and overcoming barriers to their implementation. This is practically relevant, as companies often face the challenge of implementing CSR and CE simultaneously.

Looking ahead

We aim to both stimulate and merge debates on CSR and CE implementation. Even though both CSR and CE aim at creating more sustainable organizations, their debates have, so far, taken place in isolation.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • 12: Responsible consumption and production