Research Symposium - Tuesday 8th July 2014

Innovations in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Supply Chains

Business is positioned at a critical interface with human and ecological systems, which means that innovations in business can produce triple bottom line benefits. Innovations to supply chains, business models and organisational forms are needed to address a range of food security issues, including: the ownership of natural resources (e.g. land); the management of productive resources; the valuation of eco-system services; sustainable finance.

Innovations can be found in mainstream investor owned businesses, but also in the sustainable food movement that is associated with a variety of organisational forms, from community supported agriculture (CSA) to a variety of agricultural production and marketing cooperatives (co-ops). Business models in the sustainable food movement compete by creating alternative value propositions to the industrial food supply chain; and at the same time aim to promote sustainable agricultural practices and the economic well-being of rural communities and family farms. Producer co-ops, for example, have gained growing attention among researchers examining institutional arrangements to address governance and sustainability challenges at a time of economic crisis.

One practical challenge for the sustainable food movement is how to compete in the industrial food system, which is characterized by consolidation of production, distribution and retail along the supply chain. Co-ops, for example, face a strategic dilemma associated with growth: on the one hand, they need to grow to meet rising demand and to reduce costs; on the other hand, growth produces stress on resources and reduces decision efficiency, especially when such growth comes from geographic expansion and recruiting heterogeneous members (e.g. those producing different products lines or those positioned across tiers of supply chains).

Contributors to the event may wish to connect with a variety of themes to explore how business innovation for food security can be achieved. For example:

  • Business Models
  • Common Pool Resources
  • Co-operatives
  • Institutional Logics and Diversity
  • Ecological Sustainability
  • Embeddedness
  • Ethos, Values and Principles
  • Food Systems
  • Geographical Scale
  • Dilemmas of Growth
  • Power in Supply Chains
  • Isomorphism and Co-op Degeneration
  • Membership Dynamics
  • Policy Effects
  • Regulation
  • Agricultural/food supply Chain Management

This one day symposium is open to postgraduate research students and their supervisors who are interested in exploring food security in relation to innovations in supply chains, business models and organisational forms. We welcome interests from those currently involved in empirical research projects and/or those seeking to develop theoretical frameworks that connect to issues of supply chain management and the commons.

The aims of the symposium are:

  • (i) to increase the awareness of agricultural/food supply chain research;
  • (ii) to exchange research interests;
  • (iii) to identify collaboration opportunities. This is a friendly environment helping PhD students to develop their ideas.


Research Symposium Agenda - Tuesday 8th July 2014

9:00 – 9:30



 Event CommencesProf. Jonathan Gosling

9:30 – 10:30

Sustainable food supply chain through life cycle thinking

Prof. Lenny Koh

10:30 – 11:30

Regulatory institutional entrepreneurship and institutional change processes: The
USDA and the promotion of regional food hubs

Prof. Paul F. Skilton

11:30 – 12:30

PGR students presentation


12:30 – 13:30

Lunch and Networking


13:30 – 14:30

Research on Governance and Information Exchange in Food Chains and Networks

Dr. Jacques H. Trienekens

14:30 – 15:30

Small group discussion to be led by faculty members

Prof. Zhaohui Wu
Dr. Adrian Bailey
Dr. Jeff Jia

 Event ClosureProf. Jonathan Gosling

15:30 – 16:30

Refreshment and Networking
After the symposium, you will have the oppor tunity to talk to speakers and network and share exper iences with other researchers and students


How to apply

The organisers welcome presentations (15 minutes presentation, 5 minutes discussion) from PhD students. Submissions may be empirical or theoretical, and all perspectives are welcomed as long as they are related to the topic areas stated.

Please submit an abstract (max. 400 words) to Avril Sun ( describing the nature of your research/idea and whether you would like to present a conference paper.

To register or for any other enquiries, please contact:

Mrs Avril Sun

Research Group Administrator & Project Coordinator
University of Exeter Business School
Room 150,
Streatham Court, Streatham Campus
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive
Exeter, EX4 4ST
Tel: 01392 722579


We shall provide a limited number of funding reimbursing travel expenses for the PGR students who contribute to the symposium and is in need of such funding.

Symposium Venue and Date

Tuesday 8th July 2014

Building One: Pearson Teaching Room
University of Exeter Business School
Rennes Drive, Exeter,


Professor SC Lenny Koh

BEng (Hons), PhD, is an Associate Dean, Chair Professor in Operations Management, Founder and Director of the Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) Research Centre, Director of Faculty´s Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES), at The University of Sheffield Management School, UK. She is also the co-founder of Supply Chain Management and Information Systems (SCMIS) Consortium, a global network of leading academic and practitioners driving research and knowledge exchange on supply chain and information systems. Professor Koh´s role involves leading alumni, external relations and championing partnerships with industry, government and other top institutions. She is a member of the strategy executive leadership board.

Her expertise lies in logistics/supply chain management, particularly in; low carbon futures/industries, low carbon supply chain, energy supply chain, environment and sustainability science, and uncertainty management. She has also produced a considerable amount of research in production planning and control, enterprise resource planning, and information science. Professor Koh holds a First-class honours degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, and a Doctorate in Operations Management. She has pioneered the Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) decision support system based on hybrid LCA and input-output assessment, and work on sustainable supply chains across food, advanced materials/manufacturing and energy sectors.

Professor Jacques H. Trienekens

Professor Jacques H. Trienekens is professor at Management Studies/Business Administration Group of Wageningen University, in The Netherlands. His research interests include (international) food chain and network management and business operations management. He has wide experience in national and international research projects related to food chains and networks, both as researcher and as manager. He is editor and managing editor of Journal on Chain and Network Science and International Food and Agribusiness Management Review respectively, and has published widely in books and peer reviewed international journals such as Journal of Supply Chain Management, International Journal for Production Economics, Advanced Engineering Informatics, British Food Journal, Computers in Industry, Journal on Chain and Network Science and International Food and Agribusiness Management Review. Jacques Trienekens is Fellow of International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA).

Professor Paul F. Skilton

Paul F. Skilton is an Assistant Professor of management at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. His work has appeared in Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Supply Chain Management and Human Relations. After receiving his MBA at Boston College he worked in the cotton industry for several years before completing is PhD from Arizona State University. He taught at Thunderbird Graduate School of Business, the University of California at Riverside, Grand Valley State University and Arizona State University before moving to Washington State.

His research is concerned with creative and sustainable production systems, particularly those involving cooperative governance systems. He has extended his research to complex supply chains, as a natural outgrowth of his interest in inter-organizational connections and the effects of interdependency on sustainability and performance in complex relationships.

Organizing committee

Professor Michael Winter OBE

Michael is a rural policy specialist and a rural social scientist with particular interests in applying interdisciplinary approaches to policy-relevant research and in direct engagement in the policy process. Within the University he is a member of the management boards for two research centres: Sport, Leisure & Tourism and Egenis.

He is a member of the National Ecosystem Assessment Expert Panel, chairs the north Devon Biosphere Partnership, is a Visiting Programme Director at Wilton Park (Foreign Office), a vice-President of Devon Community Council, a Fellow of North Wyke (Rothamsted Research), and chairs the Stakeholder Group for the Avon Demonstration Test Catchment. He is a former member of Defra’s Panel of Agricultural& Environmental Economists, DEFRA’s Science Advisory Council and of SWRDA's Panel of Economists and was a Commissioner for the Commission for Rural Communities for its inception in 2006 until its abolition in 2013. In 2000, he was a member of the Committee of Inquiry into Hunting with Dogs in England and Wales chaired by Lord Burns. He is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Sustainable Agriculture.

Professor Jonathan Gosling

Professor of Leadership at the Centre for Leadership Studies, University of Exeter. His most recent book is Fictional Leaders: Heroes, Villains and Absent Friends (2013). He plays a significant role in the ‘greening’ of management education worldwide and is co-founder of the One Planet MBA.

Current research examines the leadership of malaria elimination programmes; legitimate authority in professional services; sustainabilitydriven innovation in multi-national firms in China. He worked many years as a community mediator and on other interventions inspired by psychodynamic perspectives on power and organizing. He is co-founder of and is a Visiting Professor at Copenhagen Business School and fellow of the Singapore Civil Service College.

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