Towards a Circular Economy in Australian Agri‐Food Industry: An Application of Input‐Output Oriented Approaches for Analyzing Resource Efficiency and Competitiveness Potential
11 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 2016
The food industry in Australia (agriculture and manufacturing) plays a fundamental role in contributing to socioeconomic sectors nationally. However, alongside the benefits, the industry also produces environmental burdens associated with the production of food. Sectorally, agriculture is the largest consumer of water. Additionally, land degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and waste generation are considered the main environmental impacts caused by the industry. The research project aims to evaluate the eco‐efficiency performance of various subsectors in the Australian agri‐food systems through the use of input‐ output-oriented approaches of data envelopment analysis and material flow analysis. This helps in establishing environmental and economic indicators for the industry. The results have shown inefficiencies during the life cycle of food production in Australia. Following the principles of industrial ecology, the study recommends the implementation of sustainable processes to increase efficiency, diminish undesirable outputs, and decrease the use of nonrenewable inputs within the production cycle. Broadly, the research outcomes are useful to inform decision makers about the advantages of moving from a traditional linear system to a circular production system, where a sustainable and efficient circular economy could be created in the Australian food industry.
Keywords: circular economy, data envelopment analysis (DEA), food industry, input‐output analysis (IOA), material flow analysis (MFA), resource efficiency
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