Throughout this article, the authors use a political economy analysis to show how renewable and non-renewable water and energy resources are consumed and managed in long-established private sector supply chains in the food sector. These supply chains operate in, and are driven by, markets that are greatly distorted by allocative and management practices that do not account for the value of water or of the other ecosystems – the atmosphere and biodiversity – on which they depend. The authors then explore the consequences of these political economy distortions in Nexus contexts. We maintain that the upshot of Nexus systems that do not value ecosystems is that they tend to address collapses or weakness along global supply chains by looking at smaller scale hotspots, as opposed to examining these problems through a supply chain lens.
Tony Allan specializes in the analysis of water resources in semi-arid regions and on the role of global systems in ameliorating local and regional water deficits. He pointed out that water-short economies achieve water and food security mainly by importing water-intensive food commodities, and coined the concept “virtual water”. He is currently working on why the accounting systems in our food supply chain are dangerously blind to the costs of water and of misallocating it. In 2008 he was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize in recognition of his contribution to water science and water policy. In 2011 he became International Academic Correspondent of the Academy of Sciences of Spain. In 2013 he received the international Environmentalist Award from the Florence-based Bardini and Peyron Foundation, and the Monaco Water Award from Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Nathanial Matthews is the Global Research Coordinator at the CGIAR Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). In his role with WLE, Matthews manages teams and projects across WLE’s four focal regions (West Africa, East Africa, the Ganges and the Greater Mekong) working with over 175 partners to develop scalable solutions for reducing poverty, improving food security and maintaining healthy ecosystems. A political and environmental scientist by training, Matthews has fourteen years of professional experience across business, education, research and consulting that spans over twenty countries. He is a Senior Visiting Fellow at King’s College London, a Visiting Fellow at the University of East Anglia Water Security Centre and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.