- Dawn Milne
- Oct 1, 2020
September 29 marked the first-ever International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste Reduction, which drew attention to the worsening food loss and waste in many countries.
It’s an issue that has been on the radar of Jury Gualandris, an assistant professor of Operations Management & Sustainability at Ivey, for quite some time. For the past year, he has worked hard to create the Circular Economy Priority Area, an Ivey research program from the Centre for Building Sustainable Value (BSV) that looks at how waste, particularly food waste, can be upcycled into new materials and products, both edible and not.
For instance, some businesses are specializing in taking surplus waste from retailers and turning it into fresh juices. Others are using sustainable packaging to preserve our environment.
“There are many examples of businesses that have been able to discover and implement higher order value opportunities for waste,” said Gualandris.
The concept has been receiving considerable attention. To date, the Circular Economy Priority Area has received funding from multiple sources to support and expand research activities.
- A $58,000-grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for a project titled “Towards the Circular Economy: How Firms 'Connect the Dots' to Source and Use Waste;”
- A $10,000-award from the Economics & Environmental Policy Research Network (EEPRN) for work on achieving regional resilience through circular economy practices;
- A commitment from The City of Guelph and Wellington County to support an Ivey postdoctoral researcher to study how agri-food firms can successfully integrate valuable waste synergies in their operations and supply chains; and,
- Ivey PhD candidate Will Diebel received a scholarship for his research related to the diffusion of environmentally and socially sustainable practices in complex supply networks.
While most academic research takes years before coming to fruition, the research conducted by Gualandris and others at the Ivey BSV Centre is already producing valuable outcomes. For example, Shawn Liu, HBA ’20, was recently named a Global Winner in the 2020 Global Undergraduate Awards competition for a paper he wrote on the circular economy under the supervision of Gualandris.
We sat down with Gualandris to learn more about the circular economy research. Watch the video above for the research highlights to date and what’s next.