The future is living in a cube
: building sustainable modular constructions through contributing to a circular economy : the case of Acondo & Containerwerk

  • Alice Isabella Müller (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Waste is becoming an increasing issue globally while the concept of a circular economy as a sustainable solution to it has gained attention in the past years among governments, researchers and businesses. As the construction industry accounts for 40% of waste in Europe, this study particularly showcases this industry’s challenges and outlines how modular construction can tackle them by shifting a major part of the construction process off-site. Exemplary, the case of the general contractor for modular buildings Acondo and its collaboration with the modular constructor Containerwerk are introduced to highlight their contribution to a circular economy through Containerwerk’s business model of converting used sea-freight containers into sustainable living modules.The two questions analysed within this study examine Containerwerk’s economic, environmental and social objectives and how the company can generate a competitive advantage through contributing to a circular economy. As a theoretical basis, literature on sustainability, the Triple Bottom Line, circular economy, hybrid organizations and Porter’s Generic Strategies are reviewed. For the first question, the Triple Bottom Line aligned with the concept of a circular economy is applied, showing that Containerwerk fulfils all elements of the economic and environmental dimension but only partly the social one. Thus, this study questions whether an achievement of all three objectives to the same extent is required to contribute to a circular economy. The analysis of the second question based on Porter’s Generic Strategies highlights that Containerwerk generates a competitive advantage in the narrow segment of tiny houses but not in the entire industry.
Date of Award19 Oct 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMarta Bicho (Supervisor)


  • Sustainability
  • Circular economy
  • Triple bottom line
  • Porter’s generic strategies
  • Hybrid organizations
  • Construction industry
  • Modular construction
  • Acondo
  • Containerwerk


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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