Interactive visualisation of sustainability indicators for water, energy and food innovations

Paula J. Forbes*, Ruth E. Falconer, Daniel Gilmour, Nikolay Panayotov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Downloads (Pure)


The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus describes the synergies and trade-offs between water, energy and food. Despite the significant attention that the WEF nexus has received in recent years, challenges remain, primarily related to gaps in integrated data, information and knowledge related to the most critical inter-linkages and their dynamics. These WEF nexus complexities and uncertainty make decision-making and future forecasting extremely difficult. Policy makers and other stakeholders are currently faced with the task of understanding longer term environmental impacts and tJhe benefits and limitations of innovations that could be potentially beneficial, such as Anaerobic Digestion as a waste solution or insect protein production. This paper describes an approach to support decision making for local-level innovations within the WEF nexus by creating a set of sustainability indicators and an accompanying interactive visualisation. The indicators were derived from stakeholder consultation processes and workshops, and they were selected to include a much broader assessment than just financial aspects when considering the viability of such innovations. By taking this bottom-up approach and placing stakeholders at the heart of the project, we produced a visualisation tool to support sustainable decision making when considering the implementation of WEF innovations. Considering other, often overlooked factors and giving greater priority to these deepens knowledge and the recognition of influential issues that in conventional processes may be overlooked. This visualisation tool is designed to support decision makers to engage in a exploration of the different interlinkages, and to be the basis of stakeholder dialogue around sustainability. The visualisation tool developed was designed to be easily modifiable in order to be updated with new insights and to include other future innovations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1571
Number of pages12
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Early online date1 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Sustainability indicators
  • WEF nexus
  • Decision support
  • Sustainability innovations
  • Complexity
  • AD
  • Interactive visualisation
  • SDGs


Dive into the research topics of 'Interactive visualisation of sustainability indicators for water, energy and food innovations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this