Circular economy

Promoting the circular economy in agriculture

Circular economy

Circular economy

Agricultural intensification is pushing the environment to a breaking point. The linear model of food production that we use today carries severe environmental, social, and economic costs. Agriculture uses half of the planet’s habitable land, reducing biodiversity, destroying ecosystems, and polluting environments with pesticides and fertilisers. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), food related CO2 emissions are set to double by 2050, driving climate change and threatening the long-term sustainability of our planet. If the agrifood industry does not adopt more sustainable practices, the impact could be catastrophic.

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption that aims to tackle climate change, waste, pollution, and biodiversity loss. A circular economy focuses on using minimal amounts of external inputs by sharing, reusing, recycling, refurbishing, and repairing existing materials to extend the life cycle of products and reduce waste. In agriculture, this could be the conversion of manure into organic fertiliser, repurposing food waste and byproducts into new products, using wastewater for irrigation, and much more.

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Benefits of the circular economy

The circular economy has emerged as an effective strategy to combat climate change as it combines sustainable practices with economic and operational benefits, including:

Cost savings:

By reusing, refurbishing, or recycling materials, companies can reduce their raw material and production expenses. Businesses can also save on waste management expenses, such as disposal and landfill costs, by reducing waste generation. Reliance on finite resources is reduced, giving the added benefit of lowering risks associated with resource scarcity and supply chain disruptions.
Businesses can generate new revenue sources and reduce disposal costs by repurposing waste materials. For example, crop residues can be sold as animal feed, while livestock byproducts can be repurposed and sold as organic fertiliser.

Regulatory compliance:

Food and agribusinesses can better meet stringent environmental obligations and reduce the risk of fines and legal penalties by embracing the principles of the circular economy.
Embracing the circular economy can help position a business as a leader in sustainability and innovation, providing a competitive edge by appealing to environmentally conscious consumers and industries. This differentiation can provide access to new markets and allow products to be sold at a premium price.

Embracing circularity in agriculture

With our expert guidance in regenerative practices and resource conservation, we can support your transition toward a circular economy in agriculture.

Our expertise

At Farrelly Mitchell, our agrifood experts offer unique insights into ESG strategies such as circular agriculture. We understand the intricacies of the circular economy and can support food and agribusinesses in transitioning away from linear food production to more sustainable alternatives. Our circular economy experts can guide businesses in waste reduction, resource optimisation, repurposing byproducts, and contributing to a more sustainable and resilient agrifood system.

Associate Director (East & Southern Africa)
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Frequently asked questions

Explore our FAQ for answers to common agribusiness queries. Can’t find your question? Contact our expert team for tailored assistance.

What is a circular economy?

The circular economy is an economic model that prioritises sustainability by emphasising reuse, repair, recycling, and reducing waste to minimise environmental impact.

How can the circular economy be applied to agriculture?

The circular economy in agriculture is applied by converting waste into resources, like using organic byproducts for fertilisers or agricultural residues for animal feed, and strengthening local food systems to reduce waste and enhance sustainability.

How can circular economy experts benefit agribusinesses?

Consulting in circular economy aids agrifood businesses by guiding them towards sustainable practices. This not only helps in cost reduction but also in creating value from waste, leading to financial gains and better regulatory compliance​​​​.

What are the benefits of circular economy for food production?

Implementing circular economy in food production saves money and creates value. By reducing waste and sourcing food locally, it can generate significant economic benefits, while also contributing to environmental sustainability​​​​.

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If you’re looking to implement more responsible, sustainable, and regenerative practices in your business, our experts can help. Contact us today to achieve true circularity and build a more prosperous greener future.

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