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Future trends on resource efficiency and waste generation in the food chain. - FO0212

The overall objective of the proposed study is to evaluate future trends in resource efficiency and waste generation in the food chain.

Given the range and complexity of issues involved, a scenario planning is approach is both called for and proposed.

So as to maximise the quality of the work, and minimise the need for extensive engagement with wider stakeholders, the project team has been hand-picked from a number of different enterprises, and will comprise two main components:

• the core research team - will comprise Brook Lyndhurst, led by David Fell, drawing on their experience of developing the London Food Strategy, of researching WRAP`s `Love Food Hate Waste` campaign, of running BREW pilots, calculating the GHG impacts of London`s food system and of extensive research into behavioural issues associated with waste and the food chain

• a panel of expert advisors - which will provide strategic advice and guidance throughout the study, and will comprise Samantha Heath (chief executive of the London Sustainability Exchange and an expert on waste, sustainability and engagement with the food sector), Andrew Jarvis (consultant with GHK, and author of the Strategy Unit`s `Food Matters: Towards a Food Strategy for the 21st Century`); Julian Parfitt (one of the UK`s leading authorities on waste and resource efficiency) and Katy Roelich (head of Resource Management at Arup in Leeds, and lead researcher on recent studies analysing resource efficiency in the food and drink sector in the UK)

The work programme will comprise:

• a desk-based research effort, reviewing driver and barrier information across the various stages of the food chain (drawing on our experts’ knowledge, relevant literature, key interviews where necessary), developing outline scenarios, fully developing the scenarios and identifying cross-cutting patterns

• a series of highly structured brainstorming sessions, in which our experts are brought together to consider key drivers and barriers; to outline the parameters of preliminary scenarios; to debate and discuss detailed scenarios; to formulate analyses and conclusions; and generally to offer advice and guidance to the research team

• engagement with Defra FCP, to ensure their involvement with and understanding of the scenario development process

• an electronic engagement exercise, testing draft outputs with selected stakeholders

• a careful programme of analysis and reporting, to ensure that all results from the work are transmitted with both the detail and the clarity needed to make them suitable for subsequent use

There will be both tangible and intangible outputs from this work. The tangible outputs will comprise a series of reports and presentations; the intangible outputs will comprise improved capacity within the Food Chain Programme at Defra.

The key benefits will be a better strategic understanding of the forces that will shape FCP`s work in the coming years; and a better tactical awareness of the scope for policy intervention in the food chain, both by Defra and other stakeholders.
7. (b) Objectives

The overall objective of the proposed study is to evaluate future trends in resource efficiency and waste generation in the food chain.

A very wide range of issues is implied by this overall objective. There are issues concerned with the definition and characterisation of the food chain itself; there are numerous food categories; there are multiple factors either promoting or inhibiting resource efficiency and waste generation, which may be specific to individual food categories or elements of the food chain, or which may be more generic; and there is a great range of possible future development paths, both for wider contextual factors that may impact upon the food chain (such as climate change, shifts in economic structure, political upheavals and so forth) as well as for individual factors affecting the food chain.

Engaging with such complexity is, however, an important task. If Defra’s Food Chain Programme is to best target its effort in the coming years, it will be vital not only to understand the nature of the strategic challenges facing the UK’s food system, but also to develop a more tactical appreciation of how and where policy interventions and resources can best be deployed.

A scenario-planning approach is clearly called for; and the research team proposed for this study has the skills and experience required. Brook Lyndhurst has already conducted scenario-planning work on waste issues for Defra; and our expert advisors have unparalleled experience of waste and resource-efficiency issues within the food chain.

Our objectives are as follows:

Objective 1 – Understanding Drivers and Barriers Weeks 1 - 8

For each stage of the food chain, drawing on a mix of published literature, our own experience and structured brainstorming sessions, we shall identify all the principal upward and downward pressures influencing resource efficiency and waste production.

Objective 2 – Outline Scenarios Weeks 7-12

Drawing upon existing futures and horizon scanning work across government, and working closely with Defra itself, we shall develop a suite of outline scenarios for the UK over the next 5, 10 and 20 years.

Objective 3 – Testing Weeks 13-16

So as to validate the outputs from Objectives 1 and 2, we shall conduct a compact electronic engagement exercise, inviting a variety of stakeholders from across the food sector to comment upon the identified drivers and barriers, and the outline scenarios.

Objective 4 – Final scenarios Weeks 17-21

A final set of five scenarios will be fully developed, in the light of comments arising from Objective 3. Crucially, the final scenarios will incorporate the key drivers and barriers in a dynamic fashion: the scenarios will, in part, impact upon the operation of the drivers and barriers; whilst the drivers and barriers will, in turn, shape the scenarios.

Objective 5 – Reporting Weeks 21-26

A series of reports will be produced, presenting the overall results from the research and, most importantly, highlighting the implications for policy action by Defra FCP.

The timings given above are consistent with a project lasting six months, a period of time we consider appropriate for the tasks set out in detail in our research plan, below. We would, if appointed, prepare a detailed project timetable, including – crucially – a detailed series of dates for brainstorming meetings and presentations.

Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : FO0212 Summary report   (1556k)
• SUP - Supplementary Report : FO0212 Note on the availability of supplementary reports   (3k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2009

To: 2009

Cost: £99,995
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Brook Lyndhurst
Agricultural Waste              
Agriculture and Food Chain              
Food and Drink              
Food Chain              
Food Industry Sustainability Strategy              
Food manufacturing industry              
Food Waste              
Resource efficient and resilient food chain              
Sustainable Farming and Food Science              
Fields of Study
Resource Efficient and Resilient Food Chain