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Food and Circular Economy Observatory

Food and Circular Economy Observatory

An overview of the circular maturity level of the Italian agri-food industry.

The Case for a Circular Food Industry

At Enel X, one of our missions is to help transition today’s leading and most resource-intensive industries to a circular model, one which makes abundant re-use of resources and eliminates waste. As one of Italy’s leading strategic sectors, the food industry has an enormous negative impact on the environment. For this reason, Enel X and the Department of Business Economics at the Roma Tre University have teamed up to launch the “Food and Circular Economy Observatory”, the first initiative of its kind in this sector. Bringing together leading firms along the Italian agri-food value chain with university researchers and Enel X’s cross-industry vision, best-in-class measuring tools and technology solutions, the Observatory will offer a snapshot of the current situation and determine select key performance indicators (KPIs) that will assist participating firms in evaluating their circularity efforts. The Observatory will be a key part of efforts to develop a sustainable production model that centers around eco-innovation, digitization and ecological transition — one that highlights best practices and gaps in the current model and offers a roadmap of measures required to bring the industry in line with broader circular economy objective.

Aerial view of a farmed field


In its first year, the “Food and Circular Economy Observatory" will dialog with a representative cross-section of Italy’s agri-food industry along its entire value chain. At the end of the year, the Observatory will present a report outlining the state of the industry in terms of its circular economy maturity, highlighting best practices and gaps, as well as proposing plans to further integrate circular economy principles into the sector. The long-term objective is to strengthen Italy’s role in the world in terms of best practices in circular food systems. The overall reach of the objectives includes a comprehensive set of targets as well as sector-specific analysis.


The Observatory process will involve agri-food businesses along the entire value chain in training and brainstorming exercises on the main circular economy aspects of their industry. There will also be networking opportunities for industry participants as well as company visits. The Observatory will identify specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the sector and study the trade-offs, challenges, opportunities, technologies and solutions circular food systems offer. By examining development gaps in the sector, the Observatory will also provide a roadmap with customizable technology solutions that will help participating firms along the agri-food value chain improve their level of circular maturity.
Circular Economy Report

Circular Economy Report

A cutting-edge tool to help you rethink energy in a sustainable way

Farmer’s hands holding a fistful of corn


The “Food and Circular Economy Observatory” will be based on robust methodologies, developed by its partners. Enel X will provide inter-sectorial, organizational and energy-usage Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) while Roma Tre University will provide KPIs specific to the agri-food industry. These indicators will measure how individual companies apply circular economy principles to the activities of the value chain as well as to what degree individual firms apply circularity to their use of energy - including at on-site-specific levels. Participating firms will be asked to supply information via ad-hoc questionnaires and in-depth interviews. The collected data will be aggregated into the final report, identifying sector macro trends; they will also provide insights into gaps in circularity and identify potential, key areas for improvement.


Based on the results of the research process - as well as on identified gaps in circularity - the “Food and Circular Economy Observatory” will suggest actions and offer tips to improve the application of circular economy principles to the agri-food sector. In particular, the Observatory will identify: ‘circular economy pathways’ which, through use of innovative solutions, will help firms improve their circularity maturity; innovative solutions to apply along the entire value chain; and best practices for agri-food business models and value chain activities.
A wooden crate containing fresh vegetables
Someone’s hands at a table taking a piece of focaccia bread


Partners in the “Food and Circular Economy Observatory” project have several benefits, starting with participation in thematic brainstorming and educational sessions. They will also take part in the research activities, receive the Observatory’s final report and are part of all the project’s communications activities and global events. They will also be involved in all the multi-stakeholder activities that are part of the “Circular Food Manifesto”, whose aim is to promote an Italian ‘path’ to a responsible and sustainable food production model that is applicable to the entire agri-food industry value chain - to the advantage of all of Italy.