At the end of 2020, ARECO signed a collaboration agreement with the UNESCO Chair on Life Cycle and Climate Change of the School of International Trade of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (ESCI-UPF) to promote research projects on sustainability and circularity of packaging in agri-food distribution.

In this context, a three-year ARECO Postdoctoral Research Fellowship has been created to initiate a study on the circularity of this packaging, as well as other scientific developments to assess the sustainability of these elements, especially around life cycle analysis (LCA), carbon footprint and circular economy.

The researcher who will carry out this study within the framework of the ARECO felowship is Laura Batlle-Bayer, an agricultural engineer from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, with an MSc from the University of Wageningen, in the Netherlands.

Laura currently pursues her PhD thesis at the Universidad de Cantabria, directed by Dr Pere Fullana i Palmer and Dr. Alba Bala from ESCI-UPF, within the CERES-ProCon project. The thesis, framed within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Union and funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, aims to evaluate the sustainability of food diets.

She has previously worked as a consultant at Blonk Consultants, conducting environmental assessment of food products using the life cycle assessment methodology. She has also worked as a researcher within projects related to climate change and land use change at Utrecht University (UU), as well as a one-year research grant at the International Soil Reference and Information Centre.

Laura Batlle-Bayer, researcher of the ARECO postdoctoral fellowship, states that "the current agri-food system, both in Spain and globally, needs to be transformed into a sustainable system optimizing resources, avoiding waste and reducing environmental impacts. A circular regenerative system that supplies quality and affordable food for the population is needed. Thus, it is essential to assess the circularity of agri-food distribution systems, as we are doing within the framework of the ARECO fellowship".