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Closed loop supply chains


Admission requirements

This course is obligatory for students of the master’s programme Industrial Ecology.


The growing concern about scarcity of resources, pollution and emissions has led to increased political and societal emphasis on the transition to a circular economy. This course discusses how product reuse and recycling (‘closing the loop’) can contribute to business value creation and the reduction of environmental footprints at the same time. It furthermore discusses how governance and coordination mechanisms may facilitate and impede the development of circular systems.

This course enables you, as a future industrial ecologist, to understand the relevant trade-offs related to economic, ecologic and social aspects of doing business, to understand how change in multi-actor networks can come about, and to apply the necessary tools and concepts to tackle the challenges in trying to close the loop.

In particular you will learn
1. How the business concept of closed loop supply chain management links with broader concepts such as ‘Value creation’, ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Cradle to Cradle’.
2. How to apply performance measurement concepts for sustainability
3. How to apply concepts for analysis and redesign of sociotechnical systems, networks and processes
4. How to analyse the multi-actor nature of closed loop chains and the role of actors’ values and interests
5. How theory links with practice
6. How to directly apply your newly acquired knowledge in practice

Course objectives

After the course the student is able to:
1. Explain the concept of closed loop supply chain management and how it contributes to sustainability.
2. Apply concepts for supply chain process redesign.
3. Apply the concepts to practical cases.
4. Analyse closed loop chains as multi-actor socio-technical systems.
5. Explain in his/her own words the role of governance and coordination in closed loop chains.
6. Analyse and design steering interventions aimed at fostering closed loops.


See schedules and blackboard TU Delft

Mode of instruction

Lectures (TBA)

Assessment method

50% individual and group assignments
50% exam


The lecturer communicates via blackboard TU Delft.

Reading list


All students have to enroll for course and exam at the start of the course via uSis, Leiden University. For classnumbers see here or here.

Students who are not enrolled to the master’s programme Industrial Ecology have to ask permission from the studyadvisor of Industrial Ecology at least one month before start of the course by use of this form.

Contact information

Mrs. dr. E.H.W.J. Cuppen
Mr. dr. E.A. van der Laan


More information and the description of the course is published in the e-studyguide of TU Delft.