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Sourcing strategies for sustainable food supply and consumption from a business perspective

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Session chairs:
Dr Vincent Blok MBA, Wageningen University
August Sjauw-Koen-Fa, Wageningen University
Carlo Alberto Pratesi, Roma Tre University of Rome
Luca Ruini, Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition Foundation
Marta Antonelli, Roma Tre University of Rome
Francesca Allievi, University of Turku

Call for Abstracts for presentations at the Global Cleaner Production and Sustainable Consumption Conference: Accelerating the Transition to Equitable, Sustainable, Post-Fossil-Carbon Societies”, to be held in Sitges, Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 1 – 4, 2015.

The outline of food systems is inextricably linked to the future of sustainability. In view of the current challenges, such as rising populations and competition for scarce resources, it is clear that new and concerted efforts are needed to decouple economic growth from natural resource extraction and environmental degradation. The combination of food demand increase due to population growth, and the shift towards more intakes of animal proteins due to income rise, implies that the sustainability of food production and the ecosystems on which food production depends will continue to face great challenges (de Boer et al., 2006). Against this backdrop, an investigation of what strategies will secure more sustainable patterns of the food system in the future, both in terms of production and consumption, is needed.

An increasing number of Food and Agribusiness Multinational Enterprises (F&A MNEs) are investing in smallholder inclusion in an era that is characterized by increasing and changing food demands (see Tilman et al. 2011; Bruinsma 2009), on the one hand, and scarcity of resources (land, water and phosphorus), on the other (see Sjauw-Koen-Fa 2012). We define Smallholder inclusion as a sourcing strategy in which smallholders produce commodities for high value-adding supply chains in a sustainable way from a business perspective instead from a CSR perspective.

F&A MNEs aiming to source from smallholders in developing and emerging economies to secure and stabilize supply while contributing positively to smallholder livelihood and rural economic growth (see World Economic Forum 2011). However, smallholder agriculture in developing and emerging economies faces several productivity and transactional barriers in their efforts to access high value-adding food markets, e.g., supermarkets, and regional and global markets (see Humphrey and Schmitz 2002). In addition, F&A MNEs are confronted with challenges regarding governance of smallholder value chains (see Gereffi et al. 2005; Gold et al. 2013) and procurement organization (see Trent and Monczka 1994).

Two key interrelated questions arise: How is it possible to promote more sustainable production and consumption patterns? How can F&A MNEs best include smallholder supply in their sourcing strategies to contribute to the MNE’s business objectives in a sustainable way, while contribute positively smallholder livelihood?

To achieve the sourcing goals F&A MNEs are confronted with key questions, such as:

  1. How can smallholder productivity, product quality and delivery reliably be improved to meet the demands of high value-adding supply chains in a sustainable and competitive way?
  2. How can F&A MNEs governance sustainable smallholder supply chains best to upgrade smallholder farming systems?
  3. How can vertical coordination in the smallholder supply chains be strengthened to effectively and efficiently upgrade support?
  4. How can accessible and affordable rural financial systems be created to ease smallholder investments and savings demands?
  5. How can F&A MNE organize a procurement organization for sustainable smallholder supply chain development and governance of partnerships for upgrading smallholder farming systems?
  6. How can F&A MNE transform smallholder inclusion from a CRS to a business driven smallholder sourcing strategy?
  7. What are the trends in animal products consumption worldwide? What pressures will these put on natural resources in the future and what solutions can be pursued in order to limit their environmental burden?
  8. How can more sustainable food consumption be promoted at the business and policy level? Which are the measures that could prompt consumption of healthy and environmentally-friendly food products?
  9. How can the food industry promote more sustainable food systems through new business models, innovations or other solutions?

Format and Procedures for Submission of Responses to this Call for Papers

In this context, we invite authors to prepare and submit extended abstracts by May 31, 2015 via the Global Conference website:

After your extended abstract has been reviewed you will be invited to develop a conference paper; these can be based upon empirical studies, conceptual contributions or ‘state-of-the’ art literature reviews on sourcing strategies for sustainable food supply and consumption from a business perspective.

The workshop will focus upon elements of the sourcing strategies. By studying the strategies for sustainable food supply and consumption from a business perspective, the workshop participants will explore and envision how more sustainable patterns of the food system in the future, both in terms of production and consumption, can be achieved. The scope of the workshop is ‘From farm to Fork’.

We invite authors to prepare abstracts of 500 words in response this “Call-for-abstracts,’ which are to be prepared in English.

Please submit your abstracts and/or proposals for panel discussions for this workshop via the conference website:

After the Global Conference, scientific teams of the Global Conference will select the articles to be developed for peer review and for potential publication within one of several Special Volumes of the JCLP that will be developed based upon initial inputs to the Global Conference.

For more information about the workshop, questions and remarks, please feel free to contact Vincent Blok ( or August Sjauw-Koen-Fa ( or Marta Antonelli (


Bruinsma, J. 2009. The resource outlook to 2050: by how much do land, water and crop yields need to increase by 2050. Paper presented on the expert meeting on ‘How to feed the world in 2050?’, FAO, Rome.
Gereffi, G., J. Humphrey and T. Sturgeon. 2005. The global economy, organization, governance, and development. In Smelser N. J., and Swedberg, eds. 2005. The handbook of economic sociology: 160-182, Princeton University Press and Rusell Sage Foundation.
Gold, S., R. Hahn and S. Seuring. 2013. Sustainable supply chain management in the ‘Base of the Pyramid’food projects-A path to triple bottom line approaches for multinationals?, International Business Review Vol. 22 (2012): 784-799.
Humphrey, J. and H. Schmitz. 2002. How does insertion in global value chains affect upgrading in industrial clusters, Regional Studies, Vol. 36.9: 1017-1027.
Sjauw-Koen-Fa, A. 2012. Framework for an inclusive food strategy. Co-operatives key for smallholder inclusion into value chains, Economic Research department, Rabobank Group,
Tilman, D., C. Balzer, J. Hill and B.L. Befort. 2011. Global food demand and sustainable intensification of agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. December 13, 2011 Vol. 108 No. 50: 20260-2064
Trent, R.J. and R.M. Monczka. 1994. Effective cross-functional sourcing teams: Critical success factors. International Journal of Purchasing and Material Management, Fall 1994.
Watts, C.A., and C.K. Hahn. 1993. Supplier development programs: An empirical analysis. The national Association of Purchasing management. International Journal of Purchasing and Material Management, Spring 1993.
World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 2013. Scaling up inclusive business, 2013. WBCSD, Geneva.
World Economic Forum. 2011. Realizing a new vision for agriculture: A road map for stakeholders. WEF, Geneva.

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