Neil Parish MP

Neil Parish MP and local food businesses meet to debate switch to a circular economy

Leading South West dairy and bakery businesses including Marshfield Bakery, Ministry of Cake, Ginsters, Quickes and Emma’s Bread gathered at the University of Exeter to kick off new research exploring innovative ways of working to protect the environment. 

Neil Parish MP and Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, spoke at the event about the importance of the food and drink industry for the region and offered insights into the possible direction of UK agricultural policy post-Brexit.

The new project, centring on the idea of the circular economy and led by the University of Exeter Business School, involves academics working with companies to extract maximum value from the raw materials, water, energy and other resources they use, while eliminating avoidable waste and re-using or recycling unavoidable surpluses.

An interdisciplinary team of engineers, supply chain experts, mathematical modellers and social scientists, funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, will work closely over the next two years with SME manufacturers of cheese, ice cream, pasties and cakes across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

They will help firms identify and trial new low-cost technologies, processes, tools and product designs; then measure the benefits for both business and the wider environment. The experts hope that by encouraging and helping businesses to work in a circular way the businesses can protect and even restore wildlife habitats.

The free workshop was held at the University of Exeter Streatham campus on February 10. A further similar event will be held for Cornwall-based dairy and bakery manufacturers at the University’s Penryn campus on 3 March. Businesses wishing to attend this invitation-only event should email Dan Eatherley d.eatherley@exeter.ac.uk.

Date: 17 February 2017

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