Water and energy linkages to food, feed, fiber

There is an intrinsic link between the challenge we face to ensure water security and other global issues, most notably climate change and the need to sustainably manage the world’s rapidly growing demand for energy and food. Humanity needs to feed more people with less water, in a context of climate change and growing energy demand, while maintaining healthy ecosystems. Competing demands for water, energy and food will require us to make intelligent – and sometimes tough - choices and radically move away from business as usual solutions.

Water, energy, land use and climate change are all interconnected. The challenge is to provide more food, fiber and fuel in a growing and more affluent world and at the same time to be more efficient in the use of resources, not only water and energy but also other resources such as land and scarce minerals, whilst mitigating and adapting to climate change. 

Businesses are resource users and at the same time offer solutions for resource efficiency. Understanding the nexus is of paramount interest to businesses to overcome resource constraints in the future and enhance business efficiency by providing co-optimized solutions.

Businesses have recognized a clear need to develop new solutions to deal with the interconnectedness of water, food/feed/fiber/fuel and energy. One way WBCSD members have chosen to tackle the water resource challenge is by developing insights for short-term responses to the nexus, under climate change conditions, as well as policy and technology options to address the challenges.

The WBCSD kick-started work in October 2007, which led to the publication of the Water, Energy and Climate – A Contribution from the Business Community report in March 2009. More recently, analytical work was carried out to examine some of the most promising, innovative and scalable solutions to the world’s interconnected water, energy, and food, feed, and fiber challenges.


For more information, to share your experience or to get involved contact Joppe Cramwinckel, cramwinckel@wbcsd.org or Julie Oesterlé, oesterle@wbcsd.org.

Co-optimizing Solutions: water and energy for food, feed and fiber

Increasing demand for food and other agricultural products will put great strains on land, water, energy and other resources in the coming years, and also heavily impact greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. 

Action2020's Business Solutions include reducing shared water risks, increasing water efficiency in agriculture, restoring productivity to degraded land, and halving food waste from field to fork, all issues linked to the co-optimized solutions detailed in this publication.

Download the summary of the challenges 


Take a look at some of the most promising solution areas:

Download the executive summary and the interactive report

Download separately the main report and its annexes



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