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Contractual rights and liabilities in circular business models

The transition from a linear to a more circular economy that uses less scarce raw materials and causes less negative environmental impact, entails new business models and a shift from buying products to using products (‘servitization’, ‘access-based consumption’). This trend has a huge potential, also in economic terms, not the least in b2c markets. Taking into account behavioral barriers, and in absence of a clear regulatory framework, users feel uncertain and hesitant to engage in new, circular product-service systems (‘PSS’). First, this research will model and identify the behavioral and legal barriers that inhibit users to switch to these new, circular PSS and examine to what extent and how the existing contractual liability regimes in the EU and selected Member States (BE, NL) can be applied to product-service contracts. Secondly, it will develop a general conceptual framework of drivers and barriers for PSS at the consumer-side. Thirdly, the research will examine whether alternatives to regulation (insurance, standard contracts, standardization of services, ...) could provide an adequate legal solution that is behaviorally acceptable to users. The research will also analyze whether additional regulation of product-service contracts is needed and propose adjustments to the contractual liability regime(s).
Date:1 Oct 2019  →  Today
Keywords:circular economy, new business models, product-service contracts, contractual liability regimes, law and economics
Disciplines:Economic, commercial and financial law