Multiplying societal value

Multiple value creation already frequently occurs in the water sector, but it is not always clearly highlighted. KWR assists in identifying and establishing these created values, for example, through research projects in this area and the organisation of a variety of meetings in 2019.

Making multiple value creation measurable

The circular economy, climate adaptation and the transition to a sustainable energy provision are big challenges facing today’s society. If the water sector wants to take steps towards meeting these challenges, then multiple value creation is a necessity.

In multiple value creation, several parties collaborate on the creation of societal value. Although the water sector already contributes to society in a variety of ways, there is a lack of tools to highlight this multiple value creation. KWR’s research helps in identifying and establishing these values.

Think-tank session

In 2019, KWR organised a think-tank session of the Dutch Water Sector Intelligence (DWSI) platform, which is directed at futures research for and by the whole water sector. Strategists shared their ideas on how the water sector can successfully add societal value, beyond the requirement of satisfying the usual performance indicators, policy objectives and other measures of internal review.

The meeting concluded that the water sector is already actively working on multiple value creation, but does not yet typically measure and report it explicitly.

KWR researcher Henk-Jan van Alphen says that ‘whenever this is actually done, it creates the base of support needed for the sector’s participation in the effort to meet the big energy and climate transition challenges.’

Daily practice

Last year, within the Water in the Circular Economy (WiCE) research programme, KWR organised a roadshow to put the development of sustainable districts on the map.

WiCE’s objective is to contribute to societal challenges concerning the circular economy, climate adaptation and the transition to a sustainable energy provision.

By drawing on practical examples, professionals and researchers from the water sector shared their experience about which tools are useful in implementing multiple value creation, so that the related manner of working can be incorporated into daily practice.

2020 preview

The approval of two applications by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) opens the way for further research into this research theme.

For Henk-Jan van Alphen, this reflects a recognition of just how important the question is for the future. ‘In the year ahead our activities will include work on a Serious Game: a playful form in which professionals can experience multiple value creation and sustainable district development. In addition, a large international research project will be launched on the experience of citizens with sustainable water techniques. These are all initiatives that I am really looking forward to.’