NEW YORK— By 2030 we will need 50 percent more food, 45 percent more energy and 30 percent more water. Individuals, communities, and businesses around the world can work together to bridge the gap in supply and demand for nature’s services. Nancy Gibbs, the managing editor of TIME, moderated this discussion of key leaders on the supply and demand concerns for natural resources.
Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO, The Dow Chemical Company (DOW) shared the DOW’s 2015 sustainability goals called the 5 D’s. He explained them as stages companies have taken in addressing the natural resource deficiency. They consist of Defiance, Denial, Debate, Dialogue, Do. Liveris challenged individuals, communities, and businesses around the world to make strides in the Do phase.
In the last several years, dialogue on the issue of natural resources has increased. All panelists agree on what needs to be done. Now a plan on how to address these needs collaboratively is required.
Wanjira Mathai, Director and Project Leader, Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace & Environmental Studies stated how the Green Belt Movement in Kenya is working to protect natural resources. Currently, they have a deficiency of planting 5 billion trees. At their rate of planting 4 million trees a year, they require more collaboration to reach the necessary 5 billion. Therefore, Mathai argues that systems and structures need to be in place to facilitate companies working together to bridge the gap.
Mathai also challenged the companies to collaborate and not compete to put together scale and collaborative efforts to bring about the impact that is needed. Mathai offered collaboratively addressing, through public and private partners, the critical water sheds. She stated that no one company or government can address this concern on their own. As this is a priority for all human kind, we should work together to address it.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) also provided electricity poverty as another collaborate work example. With energy demand doubling, energy is the driving force of the looming natural resources crisis. Figueres stated that the quantity is not so much the concern, but the quality of the energy is; is the energy clean or dirty? Only clean energy will provide the necessary food production to meet the staggering demands.
Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank provided yet one more project where collaboration is essential. Moreno states that the Amazon provides 30 percent of the water resources for the world. Brazil has instilled some protective measures to safeguard this vital resource, but the Amazon is also in four other countries. All five countries need to work together!
Bill McDermott, Co-chief Executive Officer, SAP AG emphasized that it is time for companies to become good citizens. He argued that it is good for business for companies to address natural resources. He stated that his company achieved this by involving people in the choices the company makes. Through Design Theory and Co-Innovation, his company was able to reduce their carbon print as well as save $300 million. This was accomplished through three main goals that were based in three factors. The factors to consider are: Is there enough incentive? Is the plan feasible? and Is the plan viable? The three goals consisted of having the same carbon emissions the company had in the year 2000 in the year 2020, having more women represented in the company, and reducing unnecessary business plane travel. Not only did the company address its carbon print and increase its bottom line, but it also saw an improvement in employee retention and employee satisfaction. McDermott stated that doing the right thing is also good for business.
All panelists shared the belief that the resources to address the gap between supply and demand of natural resources exist. The sentiment expressed is that the resources are available; it is time that we as the human race are running out of. By working collaboratively, governments, businesses, and individuals can together bridge the gap in supply and demand for nature’s services.
– Caressa Kruth