Improving the sustainability of food supply chains through circular economy practices – a qualitative mapping approach

Batista, Luciano, Dora, Manoj, Garza-Reyes, Jose Arturo and Kumar, Vikas (2021) Improving the sustainability of food supply chains through circular economy practices – a qualitative mapping approach. Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, 32 (4). pp. 752-767. ISSN 1477-7835

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to present a methodological approach to support qualitative analysis of waste flows in food supply chains. The methodological framework introduced allows the identification of circular food waste flows that can maximise the sustainability of food supply chains. Design/methodology/approach Following a qualitative approach, circular economy perspectives are combined with core industrial ecology concepts in the specification of a standardised analytical method to map food waste flows and industrial synergies across a supply chain. Findings The mapped waste flows and industrial linkages depict two time-related scenarios: (1) current scenarios showing the status quo of existing food waste flows, and (2) future scenarios pointing out circular flows along the supply chain. The future scenarios inform potential alternatives to take waste flows up the food waste hierarchy. Research limitations/implications The qualitative approach does not allow generalisations of findings out of the scope of the study. The framework is intended for providing focussed analysis, case by case. Future research involving mixed methods where quantitative approaches complement the qualitative perspectives of the framework would expand the analytical perspective. Originality/value The framework provides a relatively low-cost and pragmatic method to identify alternatives to minimise landfill disposals and improve the sustainability of food supply chains. Its phased methodology and standardised outcomes serve as a referential basis to inform not only comparative analysis, but also policymaking and strategic decisions aimed at transforming linear food supply chains into circular economy ecosystems.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: For further information, please visit Brunel University's Research Archive:
Keywords: Food supply chain, Food waste, Circular economy, Industrial ecosystems, qualitative mapping
Faculty: Faculty of Business & Law
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2022 10:41
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2022 10:41

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