Water as a value driver for sustainable growth

Water Summit on April 3rd

February 23rd 2020 - Edition #24

The entire world runs on water – clean, reliable water supplies are vital for industry, agriculture and energy production. With three billion people joining the global consumer class over the next two decades, the demand for natural resources is naturally expected to boost. Nowhere is this growing imbalance playing out more acutely than the water domain.

The world contains plenty of water, but 97.5% of it is saltwater. Mankind depends on the remaining 2.5% - of which only a fraction is accessible surface or groundwater - to be used for essential functions: sustaining life, growing food, supporting various economic activities and ecological processes, producing energy, transporting cargo and assimilating wastes.

Water is vital for the production of almost everything. An average car tire requires about 2 m3 of water to manufacture; a ton of steel calls for 237 m3; an egg entails about 0.5 m3; and a single 200 mm semiconductor that powers a computer requires 28 m3 of ultrapure water. Furthermore, water conveys advantages such as reduced heat or nutrient loss during processing and is a powerful driver of yield in almost any industrial process and the extraction of raw materials. Improved site-level water management can increase beverage yields by 5%, and oil-well productivity by 20%, for instance, largely benefitting the bottom line. On pulp-and-paper production, margins have shown capable of about 7% points improvement through better water management, leaving a much more circular operation behind.

On top of this, affordable access to water is increasingly under stress due to the confluence of population growth, urbanization, and climate change. Therefore, it is no surprise that the UN included clean water and sanitation for all around the globe in their SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation for all people.

Bottomline: water is a major value driver for companies around the globe.

With this in mind, the Center for Responsible Business and Leadership (CRB) at Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics (CLSBE), in partnership with the Calouste Gulbenkian foundation, is organizing a Water Summit on 3 April 2020. The CRB aims to provide the attendees with an understanding of water and its intrinsic dependencies across businesses, involving the entire value chain of Sourcing, Production and Consumption. This gathering around opportunities and strategies for water risk management involves international, progressive, leading companies that are taking action across their value chain and are redefining the role of business in society. European leaders and Sustainability directors of many companies across different industries, like Nestlé, Toyota, Veolia, Super Bock, Suzano Group, Esporão wines, Pestana Group, among others in fashion, food, and consumer goods industry, will share their knowledge during the panel sessions.

Furthermore, confirmed keynote speakers are Catarina Albuquerque, CEO of UN Sanitation and Water for All, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Minister of Environment and Energy Transition of Portugal, and Nadia Scharen-Guivel, Government & Policy Advisor at Water.org. The opening will be done by the Dean of CATÓLICA-LISBON, Prof. Filipe Santos, who was awarded in 2019 as the best academic worldwide in the field of social innovation by the Schwab foundation.

Have a great and impactful week!

Manon Blom-El Nayal
Center for Responsible Business and Leadership

The Center for Responsible Business & Leadership has the main purpose of contributing for Sustainability and Responsible Leadership to become part of the “way we do things in our planet”. Find out more here.

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