Modern circularity thinking includes product design with adapted lifetime, reusability, repairability, and recyclability, all made with renewable resources. These criteria aim to address Earth’s resource and waste challenges and contribute to sustainable development. However, greater success will have to come from changes at the product-design level (Kümmerer, Clark, Zuin, 2020). In fact, designing, developing and implementing green, diverse, healthy, and resilient systems is a prerequisite to foster more sustainable processes, materials, and business models. In agro-industry and other related sectors of food production, consumption and security should aim for the sustainable use of bio-based resources. As it is known, food loss and waste are some of the major issues affecting the food supply chain, resulting in socio-environmental deterioration, such as the increase in hunger, especially in emerging economies.
This session emphasizes the intersection of innovation, constitution, dynamics, structures, and cooperation modes, including traditional knowledge, such as the ones from Indigenous peoples, of healthier and more regenerative systems, their efficiency, resilience, and sustainability. Regarding the Circular Economy in Sustainable Food Systems, the need to decarbonize the agricultural and energy sectors to achieve climate change goals is compounded with considerations of resource efficiency, and an increasing interest in green chemicals, green growth, and circular economy (EU, 2022). Regarding Green Technologies for Sustainable Life, the reduction and simplification of total substance, material, and product flows from local to global levels, rather than only focusing on the synthesis of a molecule (as a drug or pesticide) will be taken into account based mainly on a concept known as Benign by Design (Zuin & Kümmerer, 2022).
To summarise some of the main topics of this session, research and innovation addressing low-carbon, short-chain, and circular delivery systems for innovative bio-based applications, using a systematic thinking approach for the provision of greener and more sustainable products based mainly on biomass for all uses, whilst preserving the delivery of ecosystem services, will be the main focus of the final roundtable on Green Innovation and Circular Economy.
C1: Circular Economy in Sustainable Food Systems
C2: Green Technologies for Sustainable Life
C3: Open debate: Green Innovation and Circular Economy