Skip to content

Resources and Energy

Water scarcity and efficient water management

Developing water-efficient irrigation techniques and sustainable water management practices in agriculture.



Competition for naturals

Projections for 2050 suggest the emergence of growing scarcities of natural resources for agriculture (Alexandratos and Bruinsma 2012). Intensified competition for these resources could lead to their overexploitation and unsustainable use, degrading the environment and creating a destructive loop whereby resource degradation leads to ever increasing competition for the remaining available resources, triggering further degradation. For millions of farmers, foresters, pastoralists and fisher folk, this could create insurmountable barriers to improving their livelihoods and escaping poverty.

Sources: Project DAKIS:;; Alexandratos and Bruinsma 2012:

Sustainable seafood sourcing and fisheries management

Supporting sustainable fishing practices and responsible management of marine resources.


Sustainable use of water systems and resources

A territorial governance of water that ensures sustainability of clean water supplies and sufficiency of water resources emerges under the pressure from climate change and environmental degradation. The threat of a severe conflict resulting from shrinking water resources has brought about a GVN, where global, national and regional public and private actors rise to ensure adequate water supply for all.

Sources: Project DAKIS:;" all water related ones may be merged?

Origin of the bio-based raw material and resources matter

As companies replace fossil with bio-based resources, the demand for bio-based resources increases. Europe does not have the area or the capacity to satisfy its complete demand through self-sufficiency. Imports of bio-based foods will be necessary, even if the EU and its member states increase their effort to grow renewable resources.

Sources: Project DAKIS:;

Relationship between energy price, automation and manual labour

The energy/labour relationship was the foundation of the Industrial Revolution. Most technological processes use 'industrial energy' to replace the 'human energy' previously used to do the same tasks manually. This has been possible due to the availability of cheap energy. Even though such processes usually increase their energy efficiency over time, were the energy prices to sustainably increase, many energy-intensive processes would become unprofitable. For necessity goods like foodstuff, this means that an increased share of manual labour would be necessary to produce enough of them to meet their demand.


Energy production in competition with food production

Biogas production is in direct competition for resources that can also be used in food production. But also photovoltaics are in competition with spaces that can be or are used for agricultural production. On the other hand, there are many improvements in combining both food and energy production. As the share of regenerative energy is supposed and politically wanted to rise, this competition may come up in new forms.

Sources: EurObserv'ER: The State of Renewable Energies in Europe 2022, Paris 2023 (; ÖKOLOGIE & LANDBAU 02 | 2023 (

No land and competition for land

Competition for land: energy crops and photovoltaics versus land-use for agriculture versus investment in land (+unuse).


Energy shortage

Energy supply failures have far-reaching consequences for the nutrition of the population along the entire value chain. In the primary sector, problems can arise with harvesting. In the secondary sector, cold chains or food processing can be interrupted. In the wholesale and retail sectors, cold chains may also be disrupted or stores may close, putting supplies at risk. Restaurants and special facilities, such as nursing homes, could be temporarily unable to supply food or would have to cease operations. For private households, food could spoil if there is no refrigeration or supplies are not prepared due to lack of energy.


Resource utilisation increase

Global consumption of energy, water, and other strategic resources is drastically increasing. This relates to fossil energies, fresh water, minerals, and metals. Rising energy and resource consumption is being driven by population growth and economic development, particularly in developing countries and emerging economies. Even though fossil resources will continue to play a major role in future energy supply in terms of managing and mitigating the impacts of climate change, other natural resources to realise and facilitate progress in the creation of renewable energy will be needed. Improved energy efficiencies and decentralised power supplies will become more important.

Sources: Project DAKIS:;"

Rise in Energy Consumption

The global primary energy demand is expected to increase by 37% between 2012 and 2040. In 2040, the largest consumers will be industry (rise in energy demand by 40%), transportation and commercial and residential buildings.

Sources: FOSTER topic modeling,

Energy efficiency and renewable energy in the food industry

Implementing energy-saving technologies and utilizing renewable energy sources in food production and processing.

Sustainable sourcing of ingredients and raw materials

Promoting responsible sourcing practices to minimise the environmental impact and ensure the sustainability of resources.


Synergies between food and bioenergy industries

From the use of foodwaste and industrial residues from the food industry to produce biofuels, to the co-location of food manufacturing and biorefining. The fact that the bioenergy industry and the food industry work with overlapping raw materials not only introduces competition between them, it can also enable the articulation of a number of synergies.


Food shortage

In principle, food scarcity is not a problem in richer countries, at least in the short and middle term. Although some goods are becoming significantly more expensive as a result of inflation, a long-lasting shortage of food cannot be recorded. In the Corona pandemic, specific features emerged in individual areas that can be analysed in more detail on the basis of broad evidence. In rich countries, economic inequality is the biggest problem when food is scarce and prices rise. There may be individual cases of malnutrition or nutritional poverty.


Fertiliser shortage

It is necessary to observe whether shortages of fertilisers occur and how they can be compensated. Certain raw materials could be subject to shortages in the coming years, such as phosphates, among others. The competition of biomass energy generation and manure availability plays into this question.


Specific resources missing or lagging for the energy transition

Despite the continued technological advancements and the possibility to replace materials, there may not be enough resources, or they may not be available fast enough, to make the energy transition, which would affect food industry. If this is the case, mine construction and geopolitical risks are more like to be the reason than the actual lack of minerals available, although there is no consensus.


Competition between food and bioenergy industries

The higher methane yield and convenience could incentivize some biogas plants to source feedstock that could be used by the feed industry. Therefore, nations should implement legislation to ensure that feedstock available for feed does not get diverted to the biogas industry. Furthermore, due to the limited availability of raw materials, many countries in Europe are suffering from an increase in the prices of feed materials.