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Biology, Faculty of ManagementOther Titles: NSERC/Egg Farmers of Canada Industrial Research Chair in Sustainability
Office: FIP 340
Graduate student supervisor
Sustainability measurement and management; life cycle thinking; environmental and social life cycle assessment of food, feed and biomass supply chains; resource efficiency; social license and market access; trade-based externalization of environmental and social risk.
Courses & Teaching
Sustainable food systems; sustainability measurement and management; ecological economics.
I’m an Assistant Professor, jointly appointed in the Faculties of Arts and Sciences (Biology) and Management at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan. I currently hold the NSERC/Egg Farmers of Canada Industrial Research Chair in Sustainability.
My work is broadly situated in the fields of ecological economics and industrial ecology, emergent research areas focused on understanding and managing the sustainability dimensions of economic activity. My research vision is motivated by the recognition that promoting human well-being and social justice ultimately requires first that we maintain the integrity of the natural communities that provide the context in which human life and society become possible and upon which we depend for our basic needs.
Areas of research interest are the theory and practical application of ecological economic instruments in bio-economy (food, feed, and biomass) sustainability measurement, management and communication initiatives. I contribute to the development of methodological frameworks for evaluation and management of the scale, resource efficiency, and social dimensions of sustainability – in particular, life cycle-based product and organization-level accountancy tools for supply chain sustainability management. I subsequently apply these frameworks to scenario-model the sustainability implications of alternative bio-economy technologies and management regimes with respect to sustainability targets and thresholds. Specific domains of interest include climate change, energy use, reactive nitrogen, food security, social licence, and market access.
Post Doctoral Research: Environment Canada; European Commission Joint Research Centre
PhD, Dalhousie University
Research Interests & Projects
Research Chair in Sustainability
Nathan Pelletier holds the NSERC/Egg Farmers of Canada Industrial Research Chair in Sustainability. This Chair contributes to a research chair network that includes endowed research chairs in Public Policy (Bruce Muirhead, University of Waterloo), Economics (Maurice Doyon, Universite Laval), and Animal Welfare (Tina Widowski, University of Guelph).
The modern egg industry is exemplary of the challenges and opportunities of managing food systems for sustainability objectives. For most of us, when we pick up a dozen eggs from the grocery store shelf, we are largely oblivious to the story behind what we are buying. Of course, we know that the eggs were laid by chickens on a Canadian farm and subsequently transported to the grocery store. Yet that singular act of a chicken laying an egg is predicated on a much broader, much more complicated network of relationships. This network spans activities from extracting the fossil energy resources that are used to produce fertilizers and power farm machinery in order to grow and to process the crops that are fed to laying hens, to consumption of egg products and disposal of related wastes. It includes breeder farms, hatcheries, and pullet facilities, where chicks are reared to laying age before they are moved into layer barns. On egg farms, laying hens may be raised in a variety of housing systems. Each system – indeed, each farm – will be characterized by differing resource efficiencies and impact profiles. The egg industry also relies upon a complex network of transportation, grading, packing and processing systems. All of these activities are supported by flows of material and energy resources, with associated emissions, and they also involve a diverse cast of stakeholders. Managing egg production for sustainability absolutely requires that we be attentive to all of these relationships and supply chain stages. It requires that we seek to understand which of these relationships really matter for specific sustainability objectives, and that we seek to influence these relationships accordingly.
The overarching goal of the Egg Industry Chair in Sustainability, through Egg Industry Priority Research for Integrated Sustainability Management (PRISM) initiatives, is to develop and implement a broad-based program of research that will contribute the information and tools necessary to enable mainstreaming effective sustainability management in the Canadian egg industry.
Selected Publications & Presentations
Selected Grants & Awards
TEDx Kelowna 2018 on “The Future of Food and Sustainability”
NSERC/Egg Farmers of Canada Industrial Research Chair in Sustainability
Egg industry sustainability research video