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Innovation Capacity Building by Strengthening Expertise and Research in the Design, Planning and Operations of Green Agrifood Supply Chains

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Greek university at the forefront of green supply chains for the agri-food sector

An EU initiative assisted a major Greek university to enter the green/sustainable supply chain management (SCM) field, and sustainable agri-food in particular.

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The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), one of the oldest and largest modern universities in Greece and the Balkans region, is making moves to expand into green SCM research. The EU-funded GREEN-AGRICHAINS (Innovation capacity building by strengthening expertise and research in the design, planning and operations of green agrifood supply chains) project worked to improve the University's research capacity in green SCM and logistics, focusing on the Greek agri-food sector. Project partners addressed all aspects of the supply chain design and planning process that support green SCM. These include sustainable and precision farming, reverse logistics, green SCM, green procurement and sourcing, waste management and packaging reuse, transportation, energy consumption efficiency, green marketing, green accounting and corporate social responsibility. GREEN-AGRICHAINS recruited and hosted 17 postdoctoral researchers. It established synergistic relationships with agri-food sector players, leading to new opportunities for value added products. The relationships included knowledge transfer secondments with 12 partner organisations. The fellows produced over 110 publications in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings. A book on green SCM was also published. An additional 25 working papers are under preparation or review. They have submitted 18 research proposals to date, 4 of which were approved for funding. To raise public awareness, five information days were organised in Thessaloniki. The events featured clustering activities to explore opportunities for synergies between GREEN-AGRICHAINS and other European projects and initiatives, as well as networking, collaboration, and participation in national or EU funding schemes. In 2015, a high-profile international conference was held that addressed SCM and logistics issues in the agri-food sector from a sustainability perspective. It attracted 186 participants from 11 countries. By bringing together academia, industry, society and government, GREEN-AGRICHAINS created and extended AUTh research linkages in the field of green/sustainable SCM. The end result will be a greening of the sector's business practices, leading to its increased competitiveness while promoting regional economic and social welfare.

Keywords

Agri-food, supply chain management, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GREEN-AGRICHAINS

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