Transdisciplinarity and the food energy and water nexus: Ecological modernization and supply chain sustainability perspectives

Successful Food-energy-water (FEW) nexus projects will be more likely to succeed if a transdisciplinary approach is used. Ecological modernization (ecological technology) policies and practices, and sustainable supply chains influence the FEW nexus from a commerce and industry perspective. Taking these perspectives and considering their intertwined linkages is important for advancing research and adoption of FEW nexus efforts. This paper provides an overview of these perspectives and interlinkages. A biosolids case study is used to exemplify the complexities and interactions of these four thematic perspectives: the FEW nexus, transdisciplinarity, ecological modernization, and sustainable supply chains. An integrative multi-level analysis scheme is used to analyze interrelationships. This analysis and the case study help to identify a series of research opportunities to further this nascent field. Research opportunities include methodological developments, attitudinal and social concerns, performance indicator systems, and meta-social evolutions in technology and policy.