Special Issue "Towards More Sustainable Food Systems: A Circular Economy Approach"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Pietro Pulina
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Sassari, Via De Nicola 9, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: sustainable agriculture; economic and environmental sustainability; environmental impact assessment; climate change and agriculture; environmental management; agro-food economics
Prof. Roberta Sisto
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics, University of Foggia, Via A. Da Zara, 71121 Foggia, Italy
Interests: food-waste valorization and management; consensus building and participatory approaches; social networks analysis; evaluation of LEADER programs; social capital and rural development; organizational models in the agro-food sector; innovation in the agro-food sector

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rapid global population growth and increases in demands for food and changes in dietary habits, together with inefficient resource use and high rates of food waste, require a transition towards more sustainable practices.

A sustainable food system is a system that delivers food security and nutrition for all without compromising the economic, social, and environmental bases to ensure enough food, water, and prosperity for future generations.

Therefore, there is a need to switch from a linear to a circular economy.

Current economic systems can be classified according to two main paradigms: linear systems and circular systems. The linear model relies on a static view of production and logistic flows that go from raw material provision and transformation to the finished product dismissal. In the long run, this economic model is ineffective from the perspective of both economic and environmental sustainability.

On the contrary, in circular systems, resource flows are not static and unidirectional, but circular as highlighted in the "cradle to cradle" approach. This approach is considered an extension of the industrial ecology approach, which aims to close the loop of materials and substances, and reduce both resource consumption and discharges into the environment.

A circular economy implies reducing the waste, re-use of food, utilization of by-products and food waste, and changes in diet toward more diverse and more efficient food patterns, with an overall minimization of food surplus and waste that decreases the overall matter consumption typical of the linear economy.

However, transforming the linear economy, which has been the dominant model for centuries, into a circular one is by no means an easy task. Such a radical change entails a major transformation of current production and consumption patterns, which in turn will have a significant impact on the economy, environment, and society.

The complexity of food systems and the challenges related to the transition cannot be met by any individual enterprise but require a holistic and coordinated approach. Specifically, this means developing an in-depth knowledge of the concept of the circular economy and its processes and their expected effects on sectors and value chains.

Studies are expected to address the following:

  • The approach of the circular economy to improve the sustainability of food systems
  • Investigation of deep relations in food systems
  • Challenges and potential solutions for the production stage and the consumption stage
  • Food waste and surplus management and prevention
  • Food losses and waste related to food security and nutrition.

We believe that this Special Issue will connect multidisciplinary knowledge in accordance with the complexity of the topics covered, therefore, providing a systemic vision of problem-solving.

Prof. Pietro Pulina
Prof. Roberta Sisto
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Circular economy
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable food systems
  • Food waste and surplus management
  • Circular business model.

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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