Circles of Sustainability is an approach that supports cities, communities and organizations seeking to understand and act upon basic issues relevant to sustaining positive and vibrant social life. The approach suggests that social life should be understood holistically. This is done by considering sustainability across an intersecting four-domain model: economics, ecology, politics, and culture. The approach is part of the larger methodology called ‘Circles of Social Life’.
The CEntre for Research on Circular economy, Innovation and SMEs (CERCIS) is part of the Department of Economics and Management at University of Ferrara. CERCIS activities are focused on investigating firm eco-innovative behaviors to combine competitiveness with sustainability and to face the challenges set by the European Union Action Plan for the Circular Economy in 2015. The Plan is aimed to unlock new economic growth and job opportunities entailed by emerging sustainable patterns of production and consumption, that is, increasing the value created and appropriated while reducing the amount of factors and resources used. A great deal of effort in innovation and structural change is needed to meet this goal. In turn, the generation and absorption of technical innovations at a regional and sectoral level require the capability to growingly mingle separate pieces of knowledge, to design appropriate business strategies and models, consequent organizational adaptation and extensive investment in human capital, to fully appreciate intellectual capital and intangible assets, as well as appropriately designed policy mixes to set reliable requirements of firm performance and to spur tuned innovative behaviors. No doubt, this is much more demanding in the case of SMEs.