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EIT Food

Circular Business Models for Sustainable Urban Food Systems

EIT Food and Università di Torino via FutureLearn


Explore how circular economy can foster sustainable urban food systems

Please note this course runs without facilitation. A Spanish version of the course can be found here.

In a scenario where the world’s population will reach 9 billion people in 2050, with almost 70% of them concentrated in urban areas and requiring three times more resources than we currently use, the traditional ‘linear economy’ is no longer suitable.

On this course, you’ll discover how to design and build circular food systems for resilient, smart and sustainable cities.

You’ll explore the catalytic role of cities to foster healthy and inclusive food policies, adopting systems thinking, institutional innovation, and participatory approaches in order to fulfill the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This course is primarily designed for policymakers, public institutions, intermediaries, and educators. It would also appeal to anyone with an interest in issues of sustainability and urban food systems.

The Educators won’t be able to join the discussions themselves or respond to individual comments, but the course encourages a strong learning community. The learning is focused around debate and discussion – supporting other learners, sharing your own experience and knowledge, and listening to new perspectives. We hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way.


  • Thinking and Acting Circular in the context of SDGs: why and for whom?
    • Welcome
    • Thinking Circular in the context of SDGs: Definitions, Origins and Concepts
    • Implementing inter-connected Circular Economy thinking at micro, meso and macro level
    • Circular Economy Roadblocks and Enablers
    • Review and Reflect on Week 1
  • Designing Circular Food Systems: Challenges and Opportunities
    • Welcome to Week 2
    • Circular Food Systems: Tools and Measurement
    • Urban and Local Food Policies
    • Drivers and Barriers for Food Systems Circularity
    • Review and Reflect on Week 2
  • Unlocking Value Creation through Circular Business Models
    • Welcome to Week 3
    • From Business Model Innovation to Circular Business Models
    • Best Practices of Circular Business Models in Urban Food Systems
    • Circular Business Model Design approaches
    • Review and Reflect on Week 3
  • Engaging Food System Stakeholders Effectively
    • Welcome to Week 4
    • Unlocking the potential of CE through Systems Thinking
    • Educating on Circularity
    • Communicating Circularity: Sustainability Reporting & Public Engagement
    • Review and Reflect on Week 4

Taught by

Paola De Bernardi



4.8 rating, based on 13 Class Central reviews

4.6 rating at FutureLearn based on 48 ratings

Start your review of Circular Business Models for Sustainable Urban Food Systems

  • Extremely good course. I would do it again.

    My caveat would be to allow 3 times as much time as they suggest weekly for the course, as there's a ton of reading to get through for the course and lots of really interesting "Further reading" resources provided that you will want time to explore.

    My thanks to the creators and facilitators of this course.
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoy this course. I am interested in the Circular Economy practices but I haven't any technique knowledge about it. This course enable me: to implement my knowledge about the Origins, Definition and Measurement used in Circular Economy; to understand the design of circular food system; to know practical models to unlock value creation through circular business models; and to understand how to engage food system stakeholders effectively.
    It think that it's important to learn how to implement circular economy project at all level and the examples presented in the course represented a spectrum of the actors/stakeholders involved in the circular economy value chain. It is useful to inspire good practices for learners.
  • Anonymous
    I went through this course and was absolutely helpfull and very usefull. A great course without any doubt! Thank you for all the information and the learning!!
  • Anonymous
    This course is very good and well organized. You will find key elements to desing food bussiness models in order to help the circular economy transition.
  • Anonymous
    A great course with access to numerous real time case studies and interviews. It helps understand the concept very well.
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed doing this course and learning about circular economy. I thought the content and format were easy to understand. I really enoyed the range of medium: mini talks, mini videos and articles as well as lecture format content. I like the way we can leave comments and feel like we can have a discussion with other people doing the course- like creatihg a classroom.
    For this course perhaps it would be good to see other businesses using the CE approach that is not food related.
    Thank you
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoed this course. I found it course comprehensive, informal and well-implemented. I found a lot of good experiences and i get good inspiration from them. I can recommend it for anyone interested in circular economy and food processes
  • Diana Davidson
    When you know that 91.6% of global businesses don't have a strategy for the circular economy, you can understand the importance of this course.
    If we want to build a greener, healthier, more resilient global economy, this is how to do it.
  • Profile image for Martina Pezzoli
    Martina Pezzoli
    Great topic, great course. An amazing in-depth in Circular Systems and food chain, mind-opening. It gives a new point of view on sustainability based on the most fundamental aspect of life: nutrition.
  • Anonymous
    I found this course comprehensive, informal and well-implemented. I can recommend it for anyone interested in circular economy and food processes.
  • Anonymous
    Very well structured with diversified and useful content. You can also count with great insights/examples of the food industry.
  • Anonymous
    Well-structured and organized course. It was very informative and useful resources and references were included.
  • Anonymous
    Love this course. Great and comprehensive introduction into the topic with references and European context.

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