Research Topic

Virtual Water in Food Supply Chains

About this Research Topic

In the last few decades, global trade has dramatically increased as a result of increased globalisation of the world’s economies. Food trade is a key pillar in global trading relations. The global food system has, however, become highly complex and interconnected. Every country in the world is dependent, to a greater or lesser extent, on international trade to meet its overall food needs. Agricultural trade accounts for 1.1 trillion US$ annually. With increasing populations, higher incomes in developing countries, more diversified diets and climate change, food trade is set to increase to ensure food and nutrition security across the globe.

Simultaneously, the water embedded in food, virtual water, is ‘traded’ across the globe. However, food supply chain markets do not account for virtual water ‘flows’. Water scarcity is not captured in food supply value chains making the global food system blind to increasing water scarcity and to the serious risks for food and nutrition security in the 21st century.

The Topic Editors of this special Research Topic collection invite contributions on how to manage water in food supply value chains. Particularly inviting scientists and professionals from the environmental accounting, and responsible investment professions to provide original contributions on how to account for virtual water in food supply chains. Contributions are also invited on sustainable supply chain management including articles in the new field of ‘water-smart’ supply chain management and on the impact of climate and social disruptions to future trade.


Keywords: Virtual water, Trade, Global trade, Global economy, Food trade, Food systems, Agricultural trade, Climate change, Virtual water flow, Water scarcity, Food supply chain, Supply chain management, Water-smart production


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In the last few decades, global trade has dramatically increased as a result of increased globalisation of the world’s economies. Food trade is a key pillar in global trading relations. The global food system has, however, become highly complex and interconnected. Every country in the world is dependent, to a greater or lesser extent, on international trade to meet its overall food needs. Agricultural trade accounts for 1.1 trillion US$ annually. With increasing populations, higher incomes in developing countries, more diversified diets and climate change, food trade is set to increase to ensure food and nutrition security across the globe.

Simultaneously, the water embedded in food, virtual water, is ‘traded’ across the globe. However, food supply chain markets do not account for virtual water ‘flows’. Water scarcity is not captured in food supply value chains making the global food system blind to increasing water scarcity and to the serious risks for food and nutrition security in the 21st century.

The Topic Editors of this special Research Topic collection invite contributions on how to manage water in food supply value chains. Particularly inviting scientists and professionals from the environmental accounting, and responsible investment professions to provide original contributions on how to account for virtual water in food supply chains. Contributions are also invited on sustainable supply chain management including articles in the new field of ‘water-smart’ supply chain management and on the impact of climate and social disruptions to future trade.


Keywords: Virtual water, Trade, Global trade, Global economy, Food trade, Food systems, Agricultural trade, Climate change, Virtual water flow, Water scarcity, Food supply chain, Supply chain management, Water-smart production


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 September 2019 Abstract
01 December 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 September 2019 Abstract
01 December 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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