According to the EDGAR-FOOD database published in 2021 by the FAO, the agro-food industry produces about 34% of total emissions. Pollution from this sector is still too high. In 2022, Earth Overshoot Day – the day on which we run out of the resources the earth can naturally offer us in a year – was 28 July. This means that we have run out of resources a full four months before the end
of the year.

This is why we need to reduce the pressure on the environment and optimise the resources we have.
In this sense, the circular economy becomes both a necessity and a new opportunity. The circular economy is the new sustainable economic paradigm whose goal is to preserve the value of products and services over time by extending their life cycle and reducing waste. This
model contrasts with the linear economy, in which the product once used is thrown away. Not only that, but the linear economy also links the development of companies and territories to the consumption of natural resources and a large amount of energy. With the project Circular Economy Manager for SMEs active in the Agri-food sector, we want to use the circular economy model to create new job opportunities and improve skills for current employees.
The objectives we want to achieve are:
– Support the professional development of managers in SMEs to facilitate the transition from the linear to the circular economy;
– Fostering the development of VET students’ competencies and the integration of skills needed for the circular economy.
– Develop the professional profile of the circular economy manager and define their role, increasing the quality of job opportunities;
– Develop an innovative curriculum with the use of gamification elements to increase skills and establish the certification process of the Circular Economy Manager.
The project will last 24 months (December 2022 – December 2024) and will be divided into the following phases:
1. State of Art Research on Circular Economy in all participating countries in the Food and Agriculture sector: The needs analysis will be divided into 2 main sub-activities, i.e., desk and field research;
2. Development of the Circular Economy Manager profile and Curriculum;
3. Design the VET CE training model and contents, and design the pilot programme;
4. Development of CEM mini games;
a. Creation of Policy Handbook, and multiplier events;
b. Transferability, since this curriculum can easily be adapted to other field.
In the long term, the transition from a linear to a circular economy is expected to be facilitated through the creation of a manager whose skills are applicable in various fields, which in turn will lead to the creation of new jobs, but also reduce the pollution of the planet.