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An Introduction to Circular Economy

Circular Economy in a Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus Associate to an SDGs Framework: Understanding Complexities


The world currently faces significant challenges in its adaptation to and mitigation of climate change in order to provide goods for the growing demand for food, water, and energy—key inputs into a modern society. Today, there is hardy industrial competition for resources that includes agriculture, heavy industry (mining, manufacturing, etc.), forestry, and light industries (electrical component manufacturing, textiles, etc.). Agriculture currently accounts for 70% of global water withdrawals; 30% of total global primary energy consumption, via production and distribution; and 51% of aggregate global energy use. Together, they produce considerable volumes of wastes, increase pressure on ecosystems, and impact local communities’ water, energy, and food security. These three sectors form the water, energy, and food security nexus and are integral to achieve sustainable development goals. In extractive economies such as that of Chile, it is critical to understand how the water–energy–food nexus is linked to circular economy models of short production chains of agriculture and mining to transit to the circular agrofood system and green mining. As a country whose primary industries are agriculture and mining, Chile would be one of the world's five countries suffering from the highest water stress in 2040, and the World Resource Institute is forecasting Chile as having the worst distribution of water resources. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the complexities and linkage of both industrial activities, agriculture and mining, in determining the cross-spatial scale fluxes between water, energy, and waste. With this understanding, one may recognize the patterns and relationships between each of the variables and how they contribute to resource-based conflicts.


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