Ingrid Odegard

Ingrid Odegard MSc
senior researcher/consultant, coordinator Food chains 

Expertise: LCA, food, biomass, biobased economy, circular economy, phosphate recovery

When it comes to sustainability, food is coming increasingly into the spotlight. Meat production, in particular, makes a substantial contribution to our consumption footprint in the West. In the context of the ‘protein transition’ (from animal to vegetable) and the shift towards more sustainable eating habits there are still major steps to be made. It’s important there’s solid information available on the environmental impact of those habits and I’m glad to help develop ideas and options for a food system that’s more in line with the carrying capacity of our planet.

One of the things that interests me is that food and biomass issues are not just about environmental impact. Issues like animal welfare, the economy, the living environment, public health and labour conditions are also important aspects of a sustainable food system. And the same holds for resolving the huge discrepancies in dietary patterns around the world and the major differences in environmental impact between agricultural import and export nations. What interests me in particular is conducting analyses in which all these various perspectives need to be weighed up.

Working on the Supply Chain Analysis team, I do a lot of Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), a good method for comparing the footprints of products and services. Because most of the cases we’re presented with are complex, this method on its own is not enough, though. Which in my view is when it really starts to get interesting. In one’s analysis, how can one best get to grips with processes that have not yet been taken into production, with issues that are hard or impossible to pin down in LCA , and how exactly does one weigh up benefits and drawbacks?

As a senior consultant, I’m always fully involved with heading up the projects we undertake for ministries, industries, NGOs and trade associations. The issues we address are as diverse as the projects themselves, but they consistently give me plenty of opportunity for contributing to a more sustainable world.

Sustainability was at the core of my academic education. After my bachelor’s in Sustainable Molecular Science & Technology at Delft Technological University and the University of Leiden, I completed a master’s in Industrial Ecology at the same universities.