A new report released by REEEP – the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership – shows how businesses can take the lead in creating sustainable solutions within the water-energy-food nexus. But governments must do more to help small businesses benefit from the value added of integrated thinking about water, energy, and food.
Understanding the inter-linkages between water resources, energy production and food security – the “water-energy-food nexus” – and managing them holistically is critical to global sustainability. The report, Making the Case: How Agrifood Firms are Building New Business Cases in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus, focuses specifically on the food-producing agriculture sector, the single most prominent subsector of the water-energy-food equation. The report describes in some detail four models: two examples from a large enterprise and two examples involving micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs). The large enterprise featured, the beverage company SABMiller plc, is well on its way to creating value through nexus-driven solutions.
MSMEs, however, still face tremendous challenges in recognizing nexus opportunities, developing solutions, attracting investment and generating appropriate returns. Still, some SMEs are making strides, as REEEP project partners Futurepump Ltd and Mercy Corps have demonstrated with their disruptive clean energy-based solutions for small-scale irrigation and soy processing, respectively. But the experiences of both should cause policy makers to re-think how governments in most countries currently approach the water-energy-food nexus and give their businesses the building blocks they need to bring sustainable nexus solutions from the classroom to the community.
Making the Case was commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to inform their global work on advocating for “nexus thinking” in agriculture and food production.
Making the Case can be found at www.reeep.org/nexus.