Kicking off in November 2016, “Food and the Circular Economy - South West” explores the opportunities and challenges for SME food and drink processors in the South West in transitioning towards the circular economy (CE) – as well as evaluating the CE concept itself. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Business School, Social Sciences and Engineering is working closely with two specific sectors: bakery and dairy processors, both particularly strong in our region (think pasties and ice cream!) The research focuses on how businesses can retain and circulate maximum value from resources (of all kinds) during use, eliminate avoidable waste, and reuse or recycle unavoidable waste. There are more details about the project, which is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), here:www.circularfood.net.
To raise awareness of our work and to help boost its impact across the region and beyond, in the New Year we will be holding two free events for our industrial partners. We are delighted to announce that two MPs have agreed to deliver a short keynote speech at each event. While our focus is on SMEs we would welcome businesses of all sizes within the bakery and dairy sectors.
- · The Penryn event will be held on Friday 3 March 2017 at Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI), University of Exeter Penryn campus. George Eustice, MP for Camborne and Redruth and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment, will give the keynote address.
- · The Exeter event will be held on Friday 10 February 2017 at the Innovation Centre, University of Exeter. Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton and Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, will give the keynote address.
Each event will start with a free buffet lunch and networking at 12.45pm, followed by the keynote speech at 2pm. The project leader Professor Steffen Boehm will update participants on progress so far, giving a short introduction to the circular economy and why it is relevant to the food and drink sector now. Participants will be invited to undertake a mapping workshop and practical activity to offer a sense of the project and analytical tools we will be using. We would also look to explore new collaborations within the sector (i.e. beyond the immediate EPSRC project). We expect the events to finish at 4pm.