Solutions for water challenges worldwide
Given the vital importance of water, finding solutions for the complex water-related challenges worldwide is absolutely fundamental. The growing freshwater scarcity at the global level, the impact of climate change and quality deterioration of surface and groundwater are just some of the examples of those challenges. The economic importance is clear: water related issues are part of the top three global risks which are annually identified by the World Economic Forum (The World Economic Forum (weforum.org)).
Water is not an isolated domain. On the contrary, it is highly connected, especially to the energy and food sectors, the so-called Water – Energy – Food nexus. “The inextricable linkages between these critical domains require a suitably integrated approach to ensuring water and food security, and sustainable agriculture and energy production worldwide”, Water, Food and Energy | UN-Water (unwater.org).
Framed in the proper socio-economic context, innovative concepts and technologies are key to addressing these challenges. This is illustrated by the water centred visualization of the UN SDG (Sustainable Development Goals).
The Allied Waters approach is to let sustainability and economics go hand in hand. We focus on conceptual innovations and technologies that have typically reached Technology Readiness Levels of 7 and above. Allied Waters applies a hybrid working model jointly with partners, each in their specific role: public authority, commercial enterprise, research centre or ‘launching customer’.
Towards the circular economy
The circular economy is the alternative to the current – essentially linear – economy. While the linear economy is based on the ‘take, make, dispose’ approach to materials and energy, the circular economy is founded on the principle of ‘circular by design’. Products and processes are designed with their maximum reuse in mind. ‘From use to reuse’: that’s the essence of this paradigm change. But the idea not only refers to closing the loop for materials, energy and water, it also concerns the circular economy’s organization and its embedding in the socio-economic system. In many cases, this urges us to rethink the business model “Consider opportunities to create greater value and align incentives through business models that build on the interaction between products and services” (circle-economy.com).
Circular economy definition according to SER, The Netherlands: “An economy that handles products, materials and resources efficiently and in a socially responsible manner within ecological preconditions, so that future generations also retain access to material prosperity”
Driving the circular economy
The philosophy behind the circular economy concept is great. Now the question is, how to make it happen?
We think that, like in a conventional economy, creating market pull is a healthy mechanism to get things moving. In our approach we stimulate market pull across a combination of different tracks:
- Creating value (USP) based on a truly sustainable profile
- Saving costs in the value chain, including social cost-benefit analysis
- Rethinking the business model, if appropriate
- Acquiring co-funding through dedicated investments or grants
Complex issues require an integrated approach, which nobody can do alone. Allied Waters is proud to work with our partners who share our ambitions.