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Collaboration in a circular economy: learning from the farmers to reduce food waste

Manoj Dora (Brunel Business School, Brunel University London, London, UK)

Journal of Enterprise Information Management

ISSN: 1741-0398

Article publication date: 14 November 2019

Issue publication date: 18 August 2020




Given the lacuna in sustainability studies which investigate collaborative supply chain relationships in the context of the circular economy (CE), the purpose of this paper is to explore how farmers manage stakeholder relationship in the supply chain to reduce food waste within the CE framework.


A qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews is used to collect primary data for this research. Interviews are conducted with farmers across different farming types in the UK. A thematic analysis is used to discuss the most prominent themes.


The findings extend previous research investigating collaboration in sustainability settings. Farmers adopt collaborative relationships to manage exchanges of food waste and to share knowledge of waste management practices. However, contrary to extant literature, the study finds that geographic proximity is still relevant in the CE framework, although its importance is determined by the type of exchange: i.e. physical or non-physical.

Practical implications

Based on the study’s findings, recommendations for further research are proposed. The study also advises on practical considerations for supply chain managers wishing to adopt collaborative relationships to support circular models of supply chains.


The study contributes to the sustainability literature by adding new knowledge to the relatively new theory of the CE. It demonstrates that factors of collaboration identified in previous sustainability research are still relevant in the CE framework, and thus require further investigation into the significance of collaboration. The study is also of relevance to supply chain managers wishing to adopt the CE framework in the transition to more sustainable supply chains.



Dora, M. (2020), "Collaboration in a circular economy: learning from the farmers to reduce food waste", Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 769-789.



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