2020: Special Issue "Sustainable development and circular economy"
Special Issue - Sustainable development and circular economy

Transitioning agri-food systems into circular economy trajectories

Luigi Cembalo
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II
Massimiliano Borrello
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II
Anna Irene De Luca
Department of Agriculture (AGRARIA), University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria
Giacomo Giannoccaro
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Science (DiSAAT), University of Bari Aldo Moro
Mario D'Amico
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A), University of Catania

Published 2021-03-14


  • Transition theory,
  • Multi-level perspective,
  • Sustainability transitions

Funding data


Circular Economy (CE) might be the paradigm to re-conceptualize future agri-food industries and recreate a balanced co-existence of ecological and economic systems. Research is then called to find solutions for transitioning into CE. The current paper will apply the theory of socio-technical transitions as a framework to build a step by step procedure to analyze and manage agri-food circular economy transitions and support stakeholders involved. The agro-ecological (cultivation and harvesting), agro-industrial (food processing) and consumption (food purchase) subsystems of agri-food supply chains are analysed to address the main challenges for the transition into CE. The current paper final goal is to generate an analytical framework, for practitioners and policy makers, to identify suitable technological, market, coordination and regulative solutions to orient future CE trajectories.


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