McEachern, Morven G. (2017) Driving Circularities in the Food Supply Chain: The Sustainable Role of Alternative Food Retail Enterprises (AFREs). In: The Circular Economy: Transitioning to Sustainability?, 11 July 2017, Techno Centre, CBiS, Coventry University. (Unpublished)

The concept of the ‘circular economy’ is mooted as a new approach which can help facilitate the successful transition to a sustainable future, but there exists very little academic debate around the concept either within the business or sustainability literature (see Andersen, 2007; Murray et al., 2017). Similarly, despite much attention given to the topic of sustainability throughout the marketing discipline (McDonagh and Prothero, 2014), academics and NGOs (e.g. WRAP) have only recently started to question the sustainability of the retail sector (Thornton et al., 2013; Manna et al., 2016).
More recently, a range of alternative food enterprises have emerged more recently which challenge the dominant mode of food retailing (Manna et al., 2016; Holweg et al., 2010) by incorporating social, environmental and economic forms of capital. Therefore, in response to calls for research which explores how businesses are cultivating a more actionable agenda for sustainable growth (Prothero et al., 2011; Vicdan et al., 2016), this study explores how alternative food retail business models drive circularities to ensure the transition to a more sustainable food supply chain. As the concept of the circular economy is limited in its application of social and ethical dimensions (see Murray et al., 2017), this research also draws on the conceptual lens of the sustainability marketing model which emphasises the social and ethical (see Belz and Peattie, 2010; Lim, 2016). In so doing, this study contributes to the marketing literature by advancing an empirical-based conceptualisation of sustainability marketing to reveal the driving circularities of food by AFREs.

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