In March 2016, leading professional assurance services organisation LRQA was invited to Cranfield University to participate as a board advisor for a research project on innovation within the Water Energy & Food (WEF) Nexus. The project attracted representatives from nineteen universities across the UK in addition to NGO’s such as the Ellen McArthur Foundation.
“The WEF Nexus means that the three sectors - water security, energy security and food security - are inextricably linked and that actions in one area more often than not have impacts in one or both of the others,” said Vincent Doumeizel, LRQA Vice President Food & Beverage and who is representing LRQA on the project. “These linkages have always been present, but as the world population hurtles towards 8 billion with increasing demands for basic services and growing desires for higher living standards, the need for more conscious stewardship of the vital resources required to achieve those services and desires has become both more obvious and urgent.”
The research project itself is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.
The 3 year project is set to look at niche innovations that have the potential to reduce environmental impact on the environment and investigates how those innovations may be scaled up and what effect generated on the incumbent system now and in the future, against the backdrop of climate change.
“The project will also focus on industrial ecology, power, institutional and behavioural aspects across WEF systems,” said Doumeizel. “It will also address data and model components, climate science and downscaling climate impacts as well as the development of Agent Based Models (ABMs) as a way toward Decision Support tools to achieve step-change within the Nexus.
LRQA is a member of the Lloyd’s Register group, which is wholly owned by the LR Foundation, a charity funded by the profits from the business, which helps to protect life and property and support education, engineering related research and public engagement. Through the knowledge and expertise provided by the LR Foundation and LRQA, the WEF Nexus will be able to learn and better understand the potential application of these innovations. “Through participation in the project, LRQA is looking forward to benefitting from new expertise combined with exposure to sustainability issues in order to grow our wide range of verification and assurance services,” summarised Doumeizel.
With over 5000 food sector clients – from the world’s best known brands, to some of the smallest suppliers in emerging markets – LRQA is well known within the food and beverage sector thanks to their wide range of assurance services spanning food safety, sustainability, responsible sourcing and supply chain services.