Emiel Wubben is an associate professor of strategic management at Wageningen University and specializes in agrifood clusters & circular business. His prime interest is about: “strategizing business transitions towards a more sustainable bio-based and circular economy.”
The first time Michele Butturini heard about the work of Emiel Wubben was during VertiFarm2019, where he gave the presentation entitled “Where is the business? A study into the key variables of the Vertical Farm Business Framework.” The research paper in which that presentation was based on, will soon appear in the European Journal of Horticultural Science. Emiel allowed Michele to read the submitted version of the research paper, leading to this interview.
In the interview, Emiel also shares his vision of the future for vertical farming: "In countries that import a lot of foods, like Japan and Singapore, I think that they will have an incentive to continue the attempt of vertical farming successfully. I think that, in some countries, there's quite some pressure to get vertical farming working, while in Europe, I don't see that there is a lot of eagerness to get vertical farming done. In America, you typically often see the financial drive, motivating competition and selection. I expect more vertical farming expansion on the outskirts, such as on ships, but also on the north and south pole, in deserts, where these technologies can easily be brought and somebody can run it as a franchise. But I think it will become more like a chain or with someone who owns and runs a lot of them. I think that the container-farms may succeed and be the format that will work earlier since they are easily movable and easy to do data gathering and data sharing. I think that the technology is still too complicated for franchises to build. Large vertical farms for buildings are very investment intensive."