The Circular Economy (CE) is a well-established sustainability framework within the industry and business contexts, with strong advocates such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It is designed to be restorative and regenerative, and through a continuous cycle aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. It focuses on preserving and enhancing natural capital, optimising resource yields, and minimising system risks by managing finite stocks and renewable flows. The CE principles align strongly with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) framework, which is a relevant lens for further understanding how industry can strategically address environmental and social issues.
However, while the CE framework claims to account for the three inter-related and co-evolutionary sustainability dimensions of social, economic and environmental it is challenged for its overt emphasis on the latter two aspects with less done to achieve social value and benefits for those involved in creating and managing the restorative and regenerative cycles. This chapter aims to address this key gap by critically reviewing relevant literature and arguing for a more socially integrated and progressive CE. It develops and presents an original conceptual framework called the Spiral Economy (SE).