WP1 PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND COORDINATION

The project management is organized to efficiently coordinate the project and to ensure that the appropriate procedures are implemented to achieve its targets within the established time frame and budget. The University of Iceland will coordinate the VALUMICS project. The coordinator is Dr Sigurdur G. Bogason, research group leader of ASCS – Applied Supply Chain Systems Research Group within the Faculty of Industrial engineering, Mechanical Engineering and computer Science. Sigurdur is an experienced project manager, and has been project leader for several large international projects, both within the food industry sector and in research and academic organizations. He has more than 30 years’ professional experience in the food industry, and academia.

 

WP2 CAUSALITY BASED MODELLING FRAMEWORK ANALYSIS

The causality dynamics framework for the VALUMICS project methodological approach will be implemented as a key driver of the project work. This work will employ causality based framework as a tool for the VALUMICS project to analyze the structure, dynamics and governance of food value chains. The groundwork laid by this work package will drive the VALUMICS consortium to meet the food chain challenges, drawing on theory, literature, other projects, clusters, and existing information channels through establishing a consistent methodology employed in all the project’s work packages. The causal loop framework will be built with involvement of all participants in the project to construct a shared vision of the overall system, and mobilizing stakeholders, from the partners’ industrial networks, including from companies from primary producers (e.g. farmers), through primary (e.g. dairies) and secondary (e.g. packaged foods) processors, to logistics (e.g. transport and cold chains) and retail (providing a link to customers).

The key objectives are:

  • to implement the causality dynamics framework as a key driver of the project work through workshops involving stakeholders.
  • to build the causal loop framework with involvement of all participants in the project to construct a shared vision of the overall system.

 

WP3 POLICIES, REGULATIONS AND GOVERNANCE IMPACTING UPON FOOD VALUE CHAINS: EVIDENCE BASE AND CHARACTERIZATION FRAMEWORK

Will identify and map the impacts of EU policies, regulations and governance, and specific national (and regional/local) policy interventions, upon the better functioning of food value chains, including fairer trading practices, food integrity (safety and authenticity), sustainability and resilience advances.
The causality dynamics and interrelation of these policies, regulations and governance will be mapped, capturing the power relationships of the food value chain actors, drawing on the collaborative work in VALUMICS. From available data, including the public record, an evidence base will be compiled and a characterization of the impacts of these regulations and policies will be made according to the criteria of reducing unfair trading practices, and improving, food integrity, sustainability and resilience impacts. The stakeholder platform will take part in both the identification of the characterization factors and in quantifying their impacts. EU regulations and policies will be mapped according to the impacts upon the functioning of food value chains.

The key objectives are:

  • To provide a characterization and weighting of the most important regulatory and policy enablers and barriers, including their inter-linkages and their impacts, in terms of the ways and means for promoting and enabling better functioning food value chains and networks in terms of
    • fairer trading practices
    • integrity
    • sustainability and resilience.

 

WP4 FOOD SYSTEM CASE STUDIES GROUNDWORK

Will manage the prioritization of the selected food system groups and case studies to be worked on, and will define a set of primary and secondary data for a series of food system chains needed for the causality analysis, and use the data sources to provide design parameters for the quantitative model to be developed and coded in VALUMICS.

The key objectives are:

  • to coordinate all the case studies, and ensure that their methodological approach stays aligned to the evolving dynamic causality loop analysis framework
  • to provide framework for analysis of upstream and downstream material flows, information flows and interactions among different food value chains and networks and their members for the selected cases
  • to apply environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to quantify environmental impacts of the case studies and will focus on those governed by current EU legislation (climate change, water quality, toxic emissions etc.)
  • to explore the social aspects using Social LCA to identify issues from the perspectives of different stakeholders (e.g. worker, society, local community, value chain) to capture sources of social tension, inter-chain relations, and good practice
  • to identify hotspots based on both environmental and social LCA to help define weightings for the quantitative simulation modelling

 

WP5 UPSTREAM-, DOWNSTREAM- AND ACROSS FOOD VALUE CHAIN ANALYSIS: CASE STUDIES

The work focuses on providing more in-depth understanding of food chains dynamics by investigating the interactions among different actors along the food supply chain, from primary producers to retailers and on to consumers.

The key objectives are:

  • to examine the drivers influencing the performance, sustainability and resilience of food chains and their networks based on the VALUMICS food system case study groundwork and previous causality reiterations work
  • to define the specifications for the integrated quantitative model being developed to improve understanding of the food chains dynamics. This work will provide input to the qualitative model work, and focusing inputs for the VALUMICS consumer studies, and the new VALUMICS quantitative modelling implementation

 

WP6 CONSUMER ANALYSIS

The work in this work package is to further understand how value chain decisions impact changing consumer behaviours, and provide a forward-looking analysis on how this will impact the food value chain (with respect to the value chains analyzed in VALUMICS), and at which stages of the value chain consumers’ influence is most relevant.

The key objectives are:

  • to explore consumer purchasing behaviour, both mainstream and emerging/promising ones and investigate inter-linkages with purchasing behaviour at large and lifestyle patterns where relevant
  • to identify and assess the associated drivers and barriers to more sustainable behaviour, the sustainability impacts and main stakeholders involved

Participation of stakeholders in the causal workshops will be instrumental to assess for which other actors in the food chain these drivers are relevant (i.e., where in the chain do consumers expect improvements) and what do consumers expect from future food products and services.

“Who Drives Whom?”. The main questions are: i) to what extent do consumers’ needs and requirements influence suppliers and retailers (e.g., demanding transparency, trust, sustainability etc.), and ii) how do consumers, through their behaviours or active engagement, including through social media and consumer to consumer (C2C) apps, influence policies and regulatory frameworks? Also, how do consumers influence each other’s behaviour and choices and influence relations with retailers and subsequently the chain?

This work will be part of a case study analysis and data gathering by conducting systematic expert interviews (e.g., with consumer group representatives, relevant policy makers) as well as desk research focusing, firstly, on the various activities of the “consumer side” (e.g., civil society campaigns, petitions, etc.).

 

WP7 IMPLEMENTING NEW ADVANCES IN QUANTITATIVE MODELLING

The goal is to build on the findings of the previous phases of the project to implement and code in software an integrated dynamic simulation model, quantitatively test the model developed, and provide understanding about the drivers and outcomes of behaviours within food value networks, which will enable participants, industry and regulatory policy makers to explore the implications of a wide variety of contractual and regulatory scenarios and interventions for improving resilience, integrity and sustainability of food value chains.

The objectives are:

  • to build on the causality model framework, and create agent-based mathematical and computational model(s) of the contractual and regulatory incentives that drive the food value networks’ structure based on the model specifications. The bottom-up agent-based approach will extend, complement and fulfil the high-level system dynamics causality networks
  • to employ the insights and tools of a major stream of literature in the fields of economics and supply chain management on the management of incentive conflicts by means of contracts, to understand the relationships among chain partners and other actors, and adjust individual behaviour to enhance performance of the food system as a whole
  • to define the behaviours of the artificial software agents in the dynamic system modelling by exploiting the outcome of the VALUMICS consumer studies and market dynamics analysis, as well as the behavioural linkages and drivers
  • to apply the agent-based simulations of food supply networks to explore possible regulatory scenarios and policy interventions

Furthermore, these dynamic agent-based models are particularly suited for analyses of the network’s response to external shocks, and so will be useful in designing a more resilient and sustainable supply chain.

 

WP8 FORESIGHT EXERCISE, SYNTHESIS AND POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS TO BUILD SUSTAINABLE, RESILIENT, EFFICIENT AND FAIR FUTURE FOOD VALUE CHAINS

The work will involve three interrelated steps. The first two steps will be dedicated to scenario development. Stakeholders’ contributions will be sought through the organization of four participatory workshops. The last step will draw conclusions and main recommendations from scenario development and the overall project.

Step 1: Building anticipatory scenarios: Mapping of what can be called the “transition space”, that is, the overall and contrasted paradigms in which food system transition will occur.
Building quantitative future scenarios of food value chains and the European food system, based on key selected indicators for sustainability, resilience and adaptive capacity, reviewing the framework provided by the dynamic model (e.g. nutrient cycles for primary production, creation and repartition of the value added along the chain, job creation / maintaining in the selected chains, carbon emissions etc.).

Step 2: Developing transition pathways through participatory workshops to identify a range of policy options, business strategies and practices towards sustainability, resilience and adaptive capacity of European food chains and food systems.

Step 3: Synthesis: A coherent and factual synthesis exercise of the theoretical and empirical findings from the entire VALUMICS project will be conducted and reported. The synthesis of the determinants of sustainability, resilience, efficiency and fairness of food systems, and their current state in different food value chains will allow the identification of opportunities and threats, and thus the prospects and potentials for strengthening the EU food sector.

 

WP9 DISSEMINATION AND COMMUNICATION TO MAXIMIZE STAKEHOLDER IMPACT

WP9 will manage internal and external project communication, support all VALUMICS work packages during the entire period of the project and facilitate stakeholders’ engagement in workshops and activities at all stages of the project.

The key objectives are:

  • to ensure a coherent platform for communicating within the consortium
  • to reach out to stakeholders and keep them informed about the VALUMICS project via website, newsfeeds, publications and social media
  • to involve relevant stakeholders to provide feedback and input to the research framework. These include public decision-makers in Europe, members of the private sector at relevant nodes of the chain and civil society representatives (e.g. farmers’ unions, environmental NGOs, etc.)

 

WP10 ETHICS REQUIREMENTS

This work package follows up on requirements that the project must comply with. This includes the informed consent relating to consumer surveys and ethics approval that may be applicable for conducting surveys. Conformity to ethics standards and guidelines of H2020 in all the participating countries.