CORDIS - EU research results

Sustainability, efficiency, equity and resilience of land and water use for global food and energy security: synergies and fundamental trade-offs


Humanity faces major challenges: stay below local and global ecological thresholds; increase natural resources use efficiency; share resources fairly; and increase societal resilience. Most research focusses on one or two of these challenges at a time; there is a major scientific gap in understanding synergies and inevitable trade-offs between the development principles of environmental sustainability, equitability, efficiency and resilience. This project aims to analyse synergies and trade-offs between environmental sustainability, resource efficiency, social equity and social-ecological resilience in the context of land and water use for food and energy supply. We consider production, consumption and trade patterns globally, at high spatial resolution, analyse past developments, and develop alternative future pathways, based on coherent sets of assumptions regarding demographic and economic developments, technological innovation, changes in local diets and energy mixes, and climate change. The project team will pioneer in integrating methods and computational tools from the fields of Environmental Footprint Assessment, Life Cycle Assessment and Input-Output Analysis, applied at unrivalled high level of granularity. Coherent perspectives on handling uncertainty and risk from cultural theory will be used in a unique approach to develop alternative futures. Finally, an original framework will be developed to analyse synergies and traded-offs between competing development principles. The project will revolutionize our understanding of different pathways to food and energy security given limited land and water resources, and particularly how each pathway will make trade-offs between environmental sustainability, fair sharing, efficient resources use and resiliency. This knowledge is key in understanding how to achieve UN’s Sustainable Development Goals with limited land and water resources and reveal synergies and trade-offs embedded in specific strategies.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 462 407,50
7522 NB Enschede

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Oost-Nederland Overijssel Twente
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 462 407,50

Beneficiaries (1)