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Sustainability in Turbulent Times – Lessons from the Nexus Network

last modified Mar 22, 2017 07:55 PM
21 March 2017 – The Nexus Network has launched a new report, Sustainability in Turbulent Times, which highlights their learnings on how to tackle the nexus challenge – the interdependency between food, energy, water and the environment.

Read the reportSustainability in Turbulent Times

Since its launch in 2014, the Nexus Network, of which the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) has been a core partner, has worked to support transdisciplinary research at the food-water-energy-environment nexus, and to create meaningful links between communities of researchers, policymakers, business leaders and practitioners. This has been focused on the importance of deepening links between disciplines and sectors, and listening to the priorities of research users in government, business and civil society at the design stage.

This report informs how funding bodies can foster and support future waves of innovative, high-impact research. It identifies the need for robust social science, novel methodologies and interdisciplinary analysis of complex systems.

The report summarises the Network’s activities including CISL convening 40 senior business leaders and academics in 2015 to explore the dependencies of business supply chains on nexus-linked resources and commodities. Discussions at the workshop revealed that, while nexus issues are not necessarily at the top of corporate agendas, the effects of these interactions are having implications for maintaining licenses to operate, and for brands and reputations.

The report also highlights the Nexus 2020 project led by CISL which convened senior business people and leading researchers to identify the most important questions facing companies as they try to manage impacts and dependencies on food, energy, water and the environment. The project gathered over 700 questions followed by an intensive two-day workshop, at which a core group of business leaders and academics whittled the list down to the 40 questions seen as most vital to managing the nexus.

“User-centric multidisciplinary research has the potential to influence business practice and in some cases commercial strategy, with positive effects on nexus challenges.”

Dr Jake Reynolds and Dr Gemma Cranston

The network is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) with collaboration partners at the University of Sussex, University of Sheffield, University of Exeter, University of East Anglia as well as CISL.


Click to enlarge.

This illustration was developed at the report’s launch event highlighting the challenges and opportunities of tackling nexus issues through transdisciplinary research (created by Raquel Duran

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Gemma Cranston

Dr Gemma Cranston, Director, Natural Capital

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