How did we end up living linear lifestyle and having linear corporate mindset? How to reunite with nature again, saving valuable resources during manufacturing activities? Why and how to make our industry circular? Answers to these and other questions were given at online training Resource efficiency in food sector held on October 21st and 22nd 2021. Eight panelists, experts in the field of circular economy, resource efficiency and sustainable development, transferred their knowledge and experience to over 30 participants from food sector.

First day of the training was moderated by Ms Jasmina Imamović (CENER 21), and was devoted to three topics:

  • Resource efficiency – Relation between resource efficiency, environment and lifestyle in the local communities,
  • Circular economy – Significance of introducing the circular economy business model in food industry, and
  • Energy efficiency – Intensive energy demanding processes in food industry and strategies for its reduction.

“Energy improvements provide tangible results – cost savings, hence providing new investment opportunities, followed by enhanced competitiveness.” – pointed out Ms Sanita Džino (CENER 21), one of the lecturers. Smart use of energy is the core part of resource efficiency and as such is surely one of the main pillars of the circular economy. Participants were inspired by the best practices for efficient energy use, presented by Ms Džino.

The fact that terms “circularity” and “loss of valuable resources” cannot fit in the same sentence is showcased on the example of the local company Biona & Beyond. “Our company policy is to observe waste from production process as a potential raw material that can be used for other purposes. With this mindset we were able to utilize organic waste as a raw material for soya-based products. Moreover, this circular economy–based solution helped the company to obtain energy savings as well.” – highlighted Mr Grabovac, the CEO of Biona & Beyond.

Moderated by Ms Harisa Muratović (CENER 21), training day 2 covered the following topics:

  • Water efficiency – Intensive water demanding processes, wastewater harmful effects and strategies for water efficiency increase and
  • Plastic packaging and related waste – Use of plastic in food sector and its reflection on environment; EU policy overview on plastic packaging; Strategies for reduction of plastic use in food sector.

Ms Emina Kadrić (CENER 21) presented key strategies for plastic waste reduction in food sector, each accompanied by the living example from the EU industries. The way how increasing plastic pollution affects biodiversity and ecosystems caused a minute of silence among participants.

The fact that some of world-famous food brands such as Nestle and Coca Cola, recognized this problem and decided to bear a part of social responsibility was encouraging and very inspiring for local food companies. Ms Ivanka Stojnić, sustainability manager from Nestle, shared company’s new approach to the plastic packaging challenge.

“Recently established Nestle Packaging Institute focuses on a number of scientific and technological areas, such as reusable packaging, simplified packaging materials, recycled packaging materials, high-performance protective papers, as well as bio-based materials. We are already making progress and new packaging solutions have been launched. As an example, Nestle’s packaging experts and suppliers have developed products in recyclable paper packaging, such as Nesquik All Natural and Smarties.” – pointed out Ms Stojnić.

The training aimed to inspire a range of stakeholders for a positive change and to provide support to food sector in crossing the bridge from linear to circular economy. The gathering has created a space for new ideas and similar events in the future.

Accelerating the energy transition to exclusively renewable sources; conservation of water resources through sustainable resource management; as well as optimization of plastic use are focusing priorities of the EU strategic framework. BiH food sector is at the starting point of transition from linear to circular business model. Therefore, it is necessary to invest efforts for development of more competitive and sustainable sector that can align with the EU requirements.

Recognizing these challenges in food industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina, CENER 21 came up with project Resource Efficiency towards Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection, implemented within the project “Think Nature!” with the support of Center for Civil Society Promotion (CPCD) and financially supported by Sweden.

To get inspired follow our Facebook campaign Best practices in food industry for regular updates on the project.