The circu-lean revolution: a review of the synergies between lean and the circular economy

Nathan G.O. Johns, Saeed Talebi, Mark Shelbourn, Chris Roberts, Mike Kagioglou

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Due to the impacts of industrialisation on the planet?s environmental systems, industrial practice has had to evolve. Sustainable development goals have been set by the United Nations to limit industrial impacts on the environment. At the core of the development goals are the efficient use of materials and the reduction of waste. Two common production philosophies are becoming prevalent within the literature as a solution to consumption and waste within the construction industry, Lean and the Circular Economy (CE). Both provide aspects of green supply chain management that are required to meet the goals set by governments. There are clear synergies between the two philosophies though there are few investigations into their likeness within the literature. This paper aims to further investigate the synergies between Lean and the CE within the construction industry to develop the extant body of knowledge. The findings of the research identified that the majority of interactions between the concepts were positive although not entirely explored in construction. The core similarities surround waste reduction whereas the key differences are Lean?s human management and the CE?s closed-loop value retention. Therefore, it is suggested that a complimentary mixed Circu-Lean philosophy will be the future of production and construction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Journal31st annual conference of the International Group for Lean Construction
    Publication statusAccepted/In press (AAM) - 1 Jun 2023


    • Lean Philosophy
    • Circular Economy
    • Circu-Lean
    • Construction
    • Built Environment


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