Exploring sustainability in the food sector
Date du début: 1 sept. 2015,
Date de fin: 31 août 2017
The ongoing economic crisis as well as global environmental problems are creating an uncertain future for young Europeans. The core of these problems lies in patterns of behaviour which neglect the aspect of sustainability at the expense of short-term profit. In order to tackle these problems there is a need to promote business models which take into account ethical and social considerations. This in turn makes it necessary to train and educate a young generation who is willing and competent enough to shape a sustainable economy by working for alternative businesses or by starting alternative businesses themselves. We would therefore like to complement traditional business teaching, which still very much revolves around the idea of profit maximization, with practical approaches to alternative business models. Using the example of the food sector, the project will open room for the observation, discussion and appraisal of such models. Moreover, we aim at equipping our students with some of the entrepreneurial skills needed to practically plan and implement a European sustainable business. Last but not least, we would like to develop an awareness for the need to change consumer as well as entrepreneurial patterns of behaviour in order to foster sustainability.
About 140 full-time business students aged 16 to 19 and 24 teachers will be directly involved in the project activities taking place at the four partner schools in Germany, Turkey, Finland and Latvia.
Using a CLIL approach, we will create a setting where the students will engage in business activities with the aim of opening a supermarket chain for fair food products and the creation of their own brand. These activities will include a PESTLE analysis (i.e. taking into account political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental implications) of the market for organic/fair food products, consumer surveys, the creation of a company philosophy and brand elements (name, logo, slogan etc.), the establishment of criteria for the production and sales of “fair” food, the scoring of potential suppliers of organic raw material according to those criteria, costings, the development of a pack design and a QR code. There will also be a small-scale production of real organic-food products under the students’ own brand. Throughout the project period, these business-related tasks will be prepared and accompanied by visits, workshops and meetings with experts so that students will build up more and more knowledge about the European sector for organic food and its differences from the conventional food sector. Students will also stage events to present the results of their work, inform their school communities about it and disseminate knowledge about “fair”/organic food initiatives. Moreover, we plan to integrate reflective activities which will allow students to think about and discuss developments in the food sector such as the contradiction between the consumers’ wish for fair products and their reluctance to spend a lot of money on food. A lot of the activities we plan will be IT-based and they will involve the use of the students' second language, English.
The outcomes of the participants’ business-related activities will include reports and PREZI presentations containing the results of market research, rating forms for potential suppliers of organic raw materials, lists of ingredients, costs and descriptions of the students' manufactured brand-name products. Prototypes of these commodities – four products made of regional organic ingredients – will be manufactured by students and presented at a “supermarket opening” event. Further events will be organized, e.g. a food tasting and information event at each partner school and a panel discussion with experts about sustainability in the food sector, alternative business models and consumer citizenship. Visits to markets, supermarkets, farms, food processing plants as well as workshops with experts from universities and businesses will lead to the production of reports, blog entries and online journals. We will also use a company website to document our project.
Our cooperation will increase the particpants’ awareness of the need for sustainable thinking and it will build up their skills in acting sustainably in business as well as in private life. In the medium term the project may lead to fair-food policies being adopted by the partner schools. Through dissemination, it will also have an impact on citizens in our cities and regions and hopefully help spread sustainable business and consumption practices further.
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