Communication between hope and ambiguity

Last changed: 16 November 2020
People at fruit department in a grocery store. Photo.
How can collaborations around circular economy in the food systems come about and become succesful? Photo: PhotoMIX-Company, Pixabay, CC0.

How does collaboration on circular economy projects work in practice? How do the actors involved talk? How are decisions made? Do the actors disagree with each other? How does this collaboration lead to concrete actions? These are some of the questions that this research project is trying to answer.

Actors at different levels in the food system have drawn attention to sustainability deficiencies at the systems level in the form of poor resource utilisation. The term "circular economy" has come to be used to describe the intended solution and has quickly become a popular term for changing production and consumption patterns.

Since the concept can mean different things for different societal actors, and also challenges established and dominant working methods and traditional relationships between suppliers and customers, the realisation of circular economy in the food system places great demands on collaboration and communication.

The project studies how the ambiguous and both challenging and hopeful concept of "circular economy" is used linguistically. In addition, experienced practitioners who have worked with circular economy will gather to examine experiences of good and less good forms of collaboration and communication methods, and elaborate suggestions for how to collaborate in the future.

When the project is completed, solid advice will be proposed on how to collaborate and communicate in order to achieve a circular economy, so that the tensions that can be assumed to arise around a new and challenging way of working are made visible and managed.

What is circular economy?

Circular economy, is usually described as when resources are recreated or reused with as high a value as possible. The term has become an important concept that is seen as a more sustainable alternative to the dominant linear system.


Project duration: 2019-2022

Project leader:

Hanna Bergeå, researcher at the Department of urban and rural development, division of environmental communication, SLU.
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Other participants:

Funding: Formas, SLU Future Food.