Environmental Impact of Circular Agro-Food Chains
Circular agro and food chains are chains in which materials and nutrients are cycled regionally, nationally and internationally in closed-loop systems. Systems consist of companies that can be either the producers of goods or the receiver of used materials that need recycling or conversion to useful raw materials. Compared to the current linear take-make-waste chain, a circular chain requires new business models to gain more added value for the customers and society as a whole.
New business models in agro and food chains include the extraction of protein from water lentils and the reduction of food waste or valorisation of agricultural residues for different markets (e.g. Fig. 1). Next to economic value, the impact on the environment is a key indication of the value of the business chain. Think of climate change, land use and the consumption of fossil energy. It is not always the case that circular initiatives are more environmental friendly and hence, this needs to be assessed.
The aim of the associate professorship is to provide insight into the environmental impact of circular agro- and food chains that want to produce in a circular way. This associate professorship is part of the professorship of Sustainable Agribusiness in Metropolitan Areas. Together with other professorships within VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL) projects are being executed that cover the value chain and also the environmental impact.
The mission of the associate professorship is to contribute to the development of circular and sustainable agro and food chains in collaboration with education and research at VHL, business partners and governments. The professorship contributes, among others, to the mission of the Sustainable Agribusiness Professor in Metropolitan Areas: 'Developing sustainable business models and value chains for the production of regional and fresh food products'. To quantify the environmental impact, several methods are used from general scans to specific life cycle assessments (LCAs).
- Weidema, B. P. (ed.), Assessing the environmental impact of agriculture, Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, Cambridge, UK (ISBN: 978 1 78676 228 3. Contribution to Chapter 12 ‘The environmental impact of valorising agricultural by-products', by Rik Eweg en Jerke de Vries.
About the professor
Jerke de Vries obtained his MSc in Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering from Wageningen UR and obtained his doctorate in 2014 with his thesis entitled 'From animals to crops - Environmental consequences of current and future strategies for manure management'. As a professor Jerke de Vries is involved in various courses of Business Administration and Agribusiness and International Business.
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