Testing Food Waste Reduction Targets: Integrating Transition Scenarios with Macro-Valuation in an Urban Living Lab

Daniel Black, Taoyuan Wei, Eleanor Eaton, Alistair Hunt, Joy Carey, Ulrich Schmutz, Bingzi He, Ian Roderick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bristol, one of the United Kingdom’s (UK) nine Core Cities, is seeking to achieve Zero Waste City status by 2049. This study combines macro-economic valuation with transition pathway mapping and adapted participatory scenario planning to stress test the city’s ambitious food waste targets. The primary aim is to enable better understanding of who might be affected by achieving these targets, both locally and nationally, the potential scale of impacts, and therefore the potential barriers and policy opportunities. The valuation focuses on household and commercial food waste, combining available site and city data with national level proxies. Impact areas include changes in sectoral income, employee income, capital owner income, tax revenue, and carbon emissions. Four scenarios, based on two extreme cases, are modelled to consider food waste reduction and potential shifts in consumption patterns. Results indicate that current market and governance failures incentivise waste, and suggest potential routes to transition, including trade-offs and resource reallocation, alongside the need to acknowledge and respond to these profound structural barriers. With further development and testing, the approach may contribute to a better understanding of how to achieve city socioenvironmental targets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6004
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number7
Early online date30 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • barrier identification
  • food waste
  • macro-economics
  • participatory scenario planning
  • societal impact
  • systems thinking
  • transition pathways
  • urban governance
  • urban health
  • valuation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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