Monday, 22 April 2013

Professor Roland Clift at UW speaking on industrial ecology and sustainable food chains

Join Us for a Public Seminar with Professor Emeritus Roland Clift, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK. 

April 30th
9:30-11:00 in EV3-4408
Roland Clift's Wikipedia page

Industrial ecology approaches to (more) sustainable food chains

Life Cycle Assessment and Material Flow Accounting are two of the basic tools of industrial
ecology. These tools and approaches increasingly provide the underpinning for environmental legislation
and regulation in the European Union and for the environmental strategy of companies supplying
consumer products. Across the three dimensions of techno-economic efficiency, environmental impact and
social benefit food is one of the most fundamental and important areas for sustainability assessment.
Consumers are building expectations through price, quantified environmental impacts through popular
approaches such as carbon footprint and water use, and movements such as “Fair Trade”. Ways to report
environmental impacts in transparent and credible form are already being developed, based on
conventional environmental life cycle assessment and promise to achieve a sufficient measure of
consumer acceptance. Social benefits are less susceptible to assessment, either quantitative or
This talk will explore alternative approaches based on applying “soft” systems methodology to
food supply chains alongside the “hard” quantitative approaches of economic and environmental analysis.
Governance and the relationship between actors in the supply chain emerge as key issues in the
sustainability of supply chains. How this kind of analysis might be made credible and transparent to
consumers is a new and difficult question.