Magdalena Rusch joined the CD-Lab in 2020 as a PhD candidate and has now successfully completed her PhD journey. At the end of February, she defended her thesis entitled "The Potential of Digital Technologies as Enablers for Sustainable Product Management in a Circular Economy". Her work mainly contributed to answering the research questions of Work package 2 "Data management" of the CD-Lab.
Her thesis aims to explore how digital technologies can facilitate the implementation of a circular economy, especially on a product and company level. As a result, a conceptual framework for sustainable product management is provided that should facilitate the implementation of a circular economy. Then, the role of digital technologies, particularly the internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain, for this implementation was further explored both in theory and practice. This resulted in a detailed description of the implementation level of digital technologies for sustainable product management in companies. Furthermore, the findings also reveal the status quo of the availability and quality of sustainability-related data in companies to support sustainable product management in a circular economy. In conclusion, in a circular economy, it is key that in addition to closing product and material flows, the corresponding information flows also need to be circular.
She says: "It has been an incredibly challenging yet rewarding experience, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to pursue this degree. I would like to express my deep gratitude to all of the amazing co-authors from the CD-Lab and colleagues who have been a part of this journey with me. "
In the picture, you can see Magdalena with two out of three examiners - Rupert J Baumgartner (Head of the CD-Lab), Romana Rauter (Assoc. Prof. at the Institute of Environmental Systems Sciences) and Tomas Ramos (Prof. at NOVA University Lisbon) who joined the examination online.
Have a look at the individual papers included in the thesis:
Paper 1: Circular economy implementation in Austrian companies:
Paper 2: Information challenges in a circular economy: Proceedings of the 28th Conference of the International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS), 2022, Stockholm, Sweden
Paper 3: Application of digital technologies for sustainable product management in a circular economy – a review: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bse.3099
Paper 4: Implementation of digital technologies for a circular economy and sustainability management in the manufacturing sector: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352550922003098?via%3Dihub