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The inter-connection between our global energy, water and food systems is becoming clearer. Water is needed to extract energy and generate power; energy is needed to treat and transport water; and both water and energy are needed to grow food.

In the coming decades, population growth, rising prosperity and rapid rising prosperity and rapid urbanisation will place more pressure on these vital resources: a phenomenon referred to as the “stress nexus”.

By 2030, global demand for water, energy and food are expected to have risen by 40-50%. Climate change and natural catastrophes will add to the pressure. In turn, this pressure will risk disrupting the global economy, as well as social and political stability. Society will need to continuously absorb these disturbances, to change, to reorganise, and learn from them: an ability known as “resilience”.

“Resilience is the ability to adapt and change while remaining fundamentally the same.” Brian Walker, Chair of the Board, Resilience Alliance

“Resilience is the capacity to use shocks and disturbances, such as a financial crisis or climate change, to spur renewal and innovative thinking.” Johan Rockström, Stockholm Resilience Centre

Shell and resilience

Shell’s 100-year history shows that it has remained resilient to the changing world. Now, as we look ahead to the next decade, we see potential risks to our business due to the growing stresses on the environment and vital resources. Turbulence is increasing as a result.

We want to help society cope with these changes and so safeguard its future – as well as the future of our business.

We are promoting an approach that encourages companies and society to become more resilient, going beyond traditional risk management to prepare for systemic changes and unforeseen events.

For example, no-one could have known all the precise risks linked to the 2008 financial crisis but some businesses and governments were better prepared than others.

Together with partners, we are carrying out research into the growing stresses on global supplies of energy, water and food.

We aim to incorporate what we learn into our own long-term business planning and so help to deliver a secure energy supply into the future.