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THE FINNISH ORGANIC FOOD CHAIN Modelling towards 2020 goals with change and innovation

Nuutila, Jaakko (2016) THE FINNISH ORGANIC FOOD CHAIN Modelling towards 2020 goals with change and innovation. PhD thesis, University of Helsinki , Institute of Behavioural Sciences. University of Helsinki, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, no. Studies in Educational Sciences 272. Unigrafia, Helsinki.

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The current Finnish food chain generates negative externalities for the environment, human beings and animals. Organic food and its production represent an alternative that aims at reducing those externalities. Such an approach is supported by international authorities, and features in Finnish government goals that are intended to diminish these externalities, among others, by increasing the share of organic production. None of the goals previously set by the Finnish authorities for the organic sector have been reached, and this also applies to the target for 2020 according to trends in organic production and expanding market share in Finland. Several other European Union countries are making more significant progress in this regard in comparison with Finland. This thesis proposes a Finnish food chain model tackling the challenging aim to enable the government goals for organic food and its production to be reached. Simultaneously, it may enhance greater sustainability, with benefits to society and enhanced profitability for those enterprises acting for the common good. The model combines three theories: Activity Theory for the model with its elements, Economy of Common Good for the values and Co-creation for the collaboration of the food chain actors that pertain to the model. A change from the current to the suggested model, generating the desired outcomes, can be possible if a path of certain actions based on the principles of the Finnish national innovation system is followed. Organic food and its production need to be recognized (legitimacy) and integrated into strategic development and research topics, in Finland, for development in this area to be sufficient to reach the goals set.
This thesis comprises four articles. The first article is based on the results of a survey to establish the extent of acceptance of the review’s four most commonly mentioned organic quality attributes among the different parts of the Finnish food chain (agriculture, industry, retail, catering, consumers). The second article presents the first stage of the suggested Finnish food chain model. Using local and national focus group analyses, the third article was written to explore two of the major challenges, raised from the literature and interviews, that prevent the development of organic production in the Finnish food chain. The concluding article presents the second stage model for the suggested Finnish food chain. The findings in this thesis and its four component articles link to the associated theories that gain support from the literature on the food system. The connection with Finnish food chain actors was made through the survey and the focus groups. The suggested food chain model is, therefore, based on official reports, theories and empirical studies. The suggested model encourages food-chain-level cooperation that would lead to a fairer division of power and easier interference in legislation and taxation, making it easier to set the common good values and to use them to influence affect to the tools of food chain activities. The resulting production methods, and the food itself, will enable the goals set for organic production to be reached. The path of actions suggests tax incentives, better education and research on organic food and its production, more effective information policy and a tailored SHOK-type organic consortium to spearhead the project as an integral component of the Finnish strategic research agenda.
The activity system model, based on cultural-historical Activity Theory (AT) is used here in a different way to its normal use. The model discussed in this thesis was created by initially identifying the outcome as the set goal, and then analysing the other elements that constitute the outcome. Economy of Common Good brings a different set of values to the activity of the food chain and Co-creation deepens the relationship between food chain actors. The three theories have been tested separately and with qualified success. The Economy of Common Good principles are used in numerous companies and a few municipalities, and Co-creation has been accepted as a basic instrument of planning in various areas of business
The resilience of planet Earth is rapidly decreasing, and small actions remain largely without effect. The entire food chain has to be redeveloped in a comprehensive and radical way. The model suggested is theoretical: a combination of several theoretical approaches proven to have been successful in existing business environments. It is difficult to imagine that, under the currently prevailing conditions of materialism and egocentricity, the proposed system could be comprehensively adopted right away at the national level, but a gradual change towards the greater common good and organic goals can be expected to be possible by following the action plan proposed in the synthesis presented here.

EPrint Type:Thesis
Keywords:organic, food chain, Activity Theory, Co-creation, Economy of Common Good, national innovation system, Nordic welfare model
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Food systems > Community development
Food systems > Recycling, balancing and resource management
Food systems > Markets and trade
Food systems
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Food systems > Produce chain management
Research affiliation: Finland
Finland > Luke Natural Resources Institute
ISBN:ISBN 978-951-51-2480-7
Related Links:http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-2480-7
Deposited By: Nuutila, Dr. Jaakko
ID Code:31252
Deposited On:28 Feb 2017 06:17
Last Modified:28 Feb 2017 06:17
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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