vEGU 2021 – Solutions for sustainable agri-food systems under climate change and globalization

by Water To Food Team

During the virtual EGU General Assembly 2021, ongoing from the 19 until the 30 April, our Marta Tuninetti chaired the interdisciplinary session “Solutions for sustainable agri-food systems under climate change and globalization” along with Carole Dalin and Matti Kummu. In this session Elena De Petrillo and Benedetta Falsetti presented their works on virtual water trade:

“A step forward toward the high-resolution assessment of virtual water flows at the company’s scale” marks Elena first participation in the EGU General Assembly and presents part of her master degree thesis.  The method developed in the study enables to capitalize on the high-resolution data of agricultural water footprint available in the literature - and generally lost in the current virtual water flow assessments-  in order to quantify the sub-national virtual water flows behind food trade. As a first step, the study assesses the detailed soybean trade between Brazil and Italy. Her study participates at the Outstanding Student and PhD candidate Presentation (OSPP) Awards of EGU: voting and commenting are allowed for registered EGU participants on the abstract page and display material is available at this same address:

In her third year of her PhD and for the second consecutive year participating at the EGU General assembly , Benedetta shared her work “Do trade agreements activate new links and increase flows? A data-driven analysis of the global cereal market” on the role of trade agreements in the global cereal market. Through a data-based approach, this work demonstrates that the activation of a trade agreement induces a eight-fold increase in the probability of wiring a new trade link. At the same time, the presence of a trade agreement over time, not just its activation, reduces the likelihood of link deactivation by more than half. Commercial links covered by agreements generally show higher flows and a strong reduction in inter-annual fluctuations. Her abstract and 2 minutes video presentation are available for EGU participants at the link:

The annual EGU General Assembly gathers scientists of different geoscience disciplines, especially the early career ones.  Thus the environment is really inspiring and fizzy.  This is the second year EGU sessions are led online and the characteristic PICO presentations (Presenting Interactive COntent) are presented virtually. The session “Solutions for sustainable agri-food systems under climate change and globalisation” stands out for its strong interdisciplinarity: water  resources, sustainability, climate change, trade, crop diversity and field studies where the research themes included today.

Marta Tuninetti, along with the other conveners of the session ITS2.6 Carole Dalin (University College London), Matti Kummu (Aalto University), Kyle Frankel Davis (University of Delaware), Landon Marston (Kansas State University), and in addition with  Prabhu Pingali  (Cornell University) are the guest editors of the special issue “Focus on Sustainable Food Systems” for the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters, welcoming research from all aspects of sustainable food systems including natural resource use, rural livelihoods, human health and nutrition, trade, and climate change. Discover more on the sustainable food system in this special issue on Environmental Research Letter:

Marta Tuninetti and the other conveners of the ITS2.6 were coordinators of this session also on occasion of the  EGU edition of 2020 - scheduled in the following link:

In this session Benedetta Falsetti presented for the first time at EGU, with the abstract: “Agricultural water consumption and crop prices” (Benedetta Falsetti, Elena Vallino, Luca Ridolfi, and Francesco Laio) available at: This abstract related publication is: “ Is water consumption embedded in crop prices? A global data-driven analysis” published  in Environmental Research Letters vol. 15., doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aba782.  You can read the publication’s abstract at: and find the full-text at:

In that session Marta Tuninetti featured also as co-author along with Matteo Rolle (Politecnico di Torino, Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering) of the work presented by our Stefania Tamea“Hydro-climatic and anthropic determinants of spatio-temporal variability of crop water footprint” (Stafania Tamea, Marta Tuninetti and Matteo Rolle) available at: This work is a chapter of the bookWater Resources and Economic Processes” edited by Tiziano Distefano

You can read the related abstract “Green and Blue Water Use for Agricultural Production” here: find a preview of the book's chapter at:

At EGU20 Marta presented also in the session SS4.2, Soil biological capacity, greenhouse gases’ emission and carbon stocks of SUITMA and croplands: assessment and best-management practices - - dedicated the Soil System Science,  the abstract: “History and geography of land productivity to assess the challenges for food security” (Marta Tuninetti, Luca Ridolfi and Francesco Laio): You can read the related publication’s abstract here: and find the full-text at: