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Accelerating the Development of the Biobased Economy (ARBOR)

Track Coordinators: Emiel Wubben (Wageningen Uiversity). 

Firms and farms will have to feed 9 billion people sustainably in 2050, but society needs new collaborative formats to be invented and disseminated to sufficiently leverage biomass utilization. Synergyparks, such as the sugar-ethanol complexes, agroparks, and biorefinaries indicate the potential for the related broadened biomass valorisation.

        Three billion more, non-western, urbanized middle class people (McKinsey GI, 2013) will dominate trends in the global food and agribusiness chains and networks, threatening global food security. Land degradation, urbanization and an aging farming population challenge conventional agricultural practices. In a world with a growing population and limited natural resources raising production and reducing waste are key, while halving our footprint. It is far from evident that resource decoupling, sustainable intensification of agriculture, better biomass processing and drastic waste reductions will be realized by established business practices and public policies as we know it (Randers, 2012).

        Agrifood and biobased non-food businesses together realize the biobased transition with unprecedented consequences. Mankind is used to various agriculture-based non-foods materials, such as natural rubber, flax, cotton, palmoil in soaps, and natural fibers in boards and car-plates. However, fundamental innovations in these more conventional supplier dominated low-tech ( Pavitt, 1984) businesses and sectors are at different life cycle stages, such as CHP-stations, manure digesters, metropolitan food clusters, multi-functional agriculture, biofuels, short-food supply chains and by-products utilization. Simultaneously, (renewable) biomasses are at the basis of new industries where high tech business engineers at institutes, spin offs and established companies alike develop platform biochemicals and biomaterials, e.g., bioplastics, coatings, and specialty elastomers, for industrial appliances. In sum, a broad spectrum of valorisation options of biomasses is in development (see IEA bioenergy) but society pays the price for a fundamental underspend on the related new organisational formats.

        Along these lines, we encourage submissions that further our understanding on a broad range of topics, including (but certainly not restricted to) the following areas of special interest:

        • One can expect a further expansion and (partial) integration of sectors in biomass based foodstuffs and non-food products, or not? It will certainly impact business models for value creation and value appropriation. How do food systems networks (www.ngfn.org) change? What is the emerging industrial architecture (Jacobides, 2006) where agrifood, chemistry, energy and agriculture relate networks and supply chains eg., in synergyparks (Isakhanyan, et all, 2011), to create valorisation synergies
        • What can the application of network analysis (Gulati, 20), (multi-) stakeholder management (Freeman), industrial ecology and (corporate) governance learn us for enhanced biomass valorisation, developing the biobased economy?
        • What hybrid forms of contracting, alignment, and dependency (Wubben et al, 2013) in chains and networks, promote sustainable (cascading) biomass valorisation (see Biofpr).
        • How can regions and municipalities foster and accelerate development and use of biomass to already promote EU2020 biomass objectives (ARBOR)?

        We encourage submission of papers that tackle a broad range of questions, therefor both conceptual and empirical papers are welcome and we strongly encourage multi-disciplinary submissions from strategic management, organization theory, industrial ecology, industrial organization, supply chain management, stakeholder management, network theory, and related food, agrotechnology, and spatial sciences. In addition to the track session, submissions will be subject to a blind review process and will be considered for publication in the Journal of Chain and Network Sciences.

        Please submit your abstract through the WICaNeM submission system by 1 November 2013: www.chainconference.wur.nl. Notification of acceptance is due 15 November 2013. Deadline for full papers is 6 January 2014. For further queries, feel free to contact the track coordinator.




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