Mapping circular economy projects: A case study of a major company in the sports & outdoor industry

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Rohsig Lopez, Nicole Sofia (1); Legardeur, Jérémy (1); Faucheu, Jenny (2)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Univ. Bordeaux, ESTIA Institute of Technology, F-64210;2: Mines Saint-Etienne, Univ Lyon, CNRS, UMR 5307 LGF, Centre SMS, F - 42023
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 2555-2564
DOI number:


The sports industry is both a victim of climate change’s impact, but also a contributor: adult active sports participants have an average annual carbon footprint of 844 kg of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions. Thus, it is crucial to find solutions that reduce the sports industry’s environmental impact. In this context, the circular economy emerges as a possible alternative. This paper analyses a sports production and retail company transitioning to the circular economy. First, we identified 154 internal circular projects concerning 89 product categories and classified them into different circular strategies and approaches. Then, we conducted interviews with 33 project representatives. Our results show that repair & maintenance is the most employed loop, but sharing economy and recycling also have an essential role. Each circularity loop presents specific challenges, but personal conviction is the common motivator. However, there is a need for greater allocation of resources such as time and budget. Additionally, strong governance is essential to structure these initiatives.

Keywords: Circular economy, Sustainability, Sports and Outdoor Industry, Case study, Innovation

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