The students of international business administration at TalTech studied how the principles of the circular economy are applied in the food and agricultural industries in the Nordic countries and Baltic states. The practical part of the work focused on Epiim, Rimi, and La Muu.
Students of TalTech studied how each company’s work processes correspond to the general trends in Estonia, which practices create value for consumers, and how to use technologies to achieve sustainability.
They found that a change was required in the general way of thinking and company culture as a whole, not just marketing and industrial practices, in order to implement the practices of circular economy.
Of the companies studied, the supermarket chain Rimi has set ambitious goals for reducing food waste and the footprint of its activities. One example of this is replacing refrigerators and electric lamps with more environmentally friendly ones.
Epiim is planning to open the largest carbon-neutral plant in Estonia, and carbon-neutral milk trucks are already transporting milk from farms. Both Epiim and La Muu are looking for new environmentally friendly packaging to reduce plastic waste, and both companies have almost no food waste.
The students concluded that, in general, Estonian companies are good at sustainability. In the food and agricultural enterprises studied, the focus of sustainability is on marketing, eco-friendly labels on packaging, and the prevention of waste of products and their ingredients. The students, however, recommend using so-called clean energy in both production and the company as a whole, and to work closely with environmental organisations as well as the rest of the food industry.
The research was carried out by five students of the International Business Administration study programme of the School of Business and Governance. Alexandra Elova, Aizhas Beisembay, Sina Ansari Fard, Ankit Rana, and Roman Cole took part in an intensive course of the Nordic-Baltic Nordbiz project to study how principles of the circular economy are applied in the food and agricultural industries in the Nordic countries and the Baltic states. The Nordbiz intensive course was organized by the University College of Southeast Norway and was attended by students from universities across eight countries, who communicated with each other and defended their research online as a result of the pandemic.