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Politecnico di Milano

Circular business models fostering sustainable production and consumption

How to make real the transition from linear to circular: key concepts, tools and enablers.

Introduction to the sustainability series

This MOOC is part of the series on “Sustainability”, which is one of the world’s major challenges of today and tomorrow and requires multidisciplinary competences. The series provides technical knowledge on a variety of topics, such as sustainable building, energy transition, water management and food waste prevention.

Discover all the MOOCs of the “Sustainability” series on Pok4Professionals.

If you are a PoliMI student or staff member you have to log in using your Person Code. This is the only way to prove your participation in this course for official recognition.

Course description

The course will start with the basic concept of Circular Economy, its definition, core characteristics, and differences with the linear economy. The definition of Circular Economy will then be enriched with the main frameworks for understanding Circular Economy (e.g., the butterfly diagram and the RESOLVE model). Additionally, the course will give some practical examples of companies applying Circular Economy principles. Having defined the concept, the course will deepen the topic from a business model perspective: frameworks and tools will be presented as a valuable means to design and evaluate Circular Business Models. Besides, the transition from linear to circular economy involves not only the company per se but also the whole business ecosystem. Accordingly, the concept of circular ecosystems will be defined together with the rationale behind the need for circular ecosystems. The course will also unveil the role of platforms in enabling the transition towards Circular economy. The course ends by identifying the main factors impacting Circular Economy adoption and investigating their role in the transition from linear to circular economy: digital technologies, policies and financing mechanisms.

Total workload of the course: 8 hours

This MOOC is provided by Politecnico di Milano.

Information about fees and access to materials

The course is delivered in online mode and is available free of charge.

Course materials will remain available to all enrolled users after the end of the current edition, so they can return to content later. The current course edition will be followed by a new one just after its end.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By actively participating in this MOOC, you will achieve different intended learning outcomes (ILOs).

Week 1

  1. Define the concept of Circular Economy
  2. List its principles and clearly differentiate linear economy from circular economy
  3. Describe the main models at the core of Circular Economy (e.g., the Butterfly Diagram)
  4. Get to know some practical examples of companies applying Circular Economy principles
  5. List its principles and clearly differentiate linear economy from circular economy
  6. ESCO: circular economy
    ESCO: adopt ways to reduce negative impact of consumption

Week 2

  1. Describe the classification of Circular Economy business models
  2. Use a useful and handy tool to frame a successful Circular Economy Business Model
  3. Define the concept of circular ecosystem and its rationale
  4. Explain the role of platforms in Circular Economy
  5. ESCO: business model
    ESCO: build business relationships

Week 3

  1. Explain the role of digital technologies in enabling Circular Economy transition
  2. Explain the role of policies in supporting Circular Economy transition
  3. Describe the importance of financing mechanisms for Circular Economy
  4. ESCO: monitor technology trends
    ESCO: policy analysis


No prerequisite knowledge is required for this course.


Over and above consulting the content, in the form of videos and other web-based resources, you will have the opportunity to discuss course topics and to share ideas with your peers in the Forum of this MOOC.

You will find a large number of readings and insights to further enrich your knowledge of the topics covered.


The final grade for the course is based on the results of your responses to the quizzes you will find at the end of each week (weekly quizzes). You will successfully complete the course if you reach 60% (or more) of the total score by the end of the edition. At the end of the MOOC, you will have to pass a Final Quiz. The course’s total score will be calculated by averaging the scores of the assessed quizzes for each individual week.

Certificate of Accomplishment

The Certificate of Accomplishment will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by achieving at least 60% of the total score in the assessed quizzes. You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly from the website.

Once you have successfully passed the course, you can request the Certificate of Accomplishment without waiting for the end of the edition.

The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree.

European Qualifications Framework Level

EQF Level 5

Thematic area (ISCED-F classification)

0722 Materials (glass, paper, plastic and wood)

0723 Textiles (clothes, footwear and leather)

Discussion forum

The forum of this MOOC is freely accessible and participation is not guided; you can use it to compare yourself with other participants, or to discuss course contents with them.

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact For further information, see FAQ page.

Course Faculty

Davide Chiaroni

Davide Chiaroni

Davide Chiaroni is Full Professor of Strategy & Marketing and Circular Economy Business Models at Politecnico di Milano. He is co-founder of Energy & Strategy, the research group of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano investigating the challenges of energy transition and sustainability in Italy. He is among the most cited author in the field of Circular Economy, where he studies the implications for companies of the adoption of circular business models.

Simone Franzò

Simone Franzò

Simone Franzò is a Senior Assistant Professor at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano, where he is Member of the Core Faculty. His research interests are in the fields of sustainability management, with particular reference to energy transition and circular economy. He has more than 60 publications, such as papers, book chapters and conference proceedings. He serves as reviewer for many journals, such as Journal of Cleaner Production, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Nature Communications.

Alessio Nasca

Alessio Nasca

Alessio Nasca is a research fellow at Energy & Strategy. He is Project Leader for Smart Mobility and Circular Economy Report and is responsible for research projects in the fields of Smart and Sustainable Mobility and Circular Economy which are carried out and presented by Energy & Strategy.

He is a lecturer in Circular Economy Business Model and Circular Economy Lab at the Master of Science in Management Engineering at Politecnico di Milano.

Lucrezia Sgambaro

Lucrezia Sgambaro

Lucrezia Sgambaro is a Ph.D. Candidate at Politecnico di Milano. Her PhD research activities focus is in the intersection between circular economy and digital technologies. She is a lecturer in Circular Economy Business Model at the Master of Science in Management Engineering at Politecnico di Milano.

She is a research fellow at Energy & Strategy. She works as a consultant and project manager on both consultancy projects and annual research reports. Both projects and reports focus on different topics related to sustainability, such as smart mobility, circular economy, decarbonization and energy efficiency.

Creative Commons License
This course is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License except where otherwise specified.

  1. Classes Start

    Jan 08, 2024
  2. Classes End

    Feb 29, 2024
  3. Length

    4 weeks
  4. Estimated Effort

    1-2 hours/week
  5. Language

  6. Course Number

  7. MOOCs For Professionals