John J. Harris, President and CEO of Nestlé Waters participated in the
"Preserving scarce resources" panel at the OECD Forum.
Paris, June 3, 2010,
Nestlé sponsored the recent OECD Forum in Paris which focused on innovation, jobs and green growth. John J. Harris, President and CEO of Nestlé Waters participated in the "Preserving scarce resources" panel.
The OECD* Forum is a "multi-stakeholder summit" which brings together business and labour leaders, civil society personalities, government ministers and leaders of international organisations to discuss and respond to the hottest issues on the international agenda. As the Forum takes place in conjunction with the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, participants play a real role in influencing policy decisions.
In response to the crisis
The inspiration for the “Preserving scarce resources” panel is the need to optimize the use of all natural resources if sustainable green growth is to be developed.
The New Zealand Minister for Trade, Tim Groser, began the discussion by highlighting the importance of water as a precious, limited resource.
John J. Harris reiterated this vision by making two strong points on the subject: firstly, the necessity of reducing the use of water in the agricultural sector (agriculture represents 70% of global freshwater consumption), and secondly the important role water plays in our daily lives beyond basic hydration.
Mr. Harris illustrated his second point with an everyday example: the production of a single shirt requires about 1,000 litres of water. "We must also consider the important role technology and R&D can play in improving a product's environmental performance throughout its life cycle," added Mr. Harris.
A representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a non-governmental organization also present on the panel, stressed that citizens must play their part in helping to meet this challenge.
Holistic thinking was also promoted: the water challenge, for example, should be seen in the global context of climate change and of the depletion of other resources such as fossil energy. Everything is connected and should be addressed as such.
Finally, the need for carrots and sticks was explored. The crisis is a good opportunity to re-assess and reform policies which are costly in both economic and environmental terms. The panelists nevertheless emphasized the role of market-based solutions in addressing these challenges. Efficient use of natural resources is a win-win solution: it reduces the negative impact on the environment, while at the same time improving the economy's competitiveness.
Moderator: Simon Upton, Director, Environment Directorate, OECD
Tim Groser, Minister of Trade, New Zealand
Brian Hoskins, Director, Grantham Institute for Climate Change, United Kingdom
Andrew Seidl, Head of Global Economics and Environment Programme, International Union for Conservation of Nature
Cesare Spreafico, Director General, COREPLA, Italy
Discussant(s): Pascal Husting, Executive Director, Greenpeace France
Thomas Kaissl, Head of Green Economy Programme, WWF International
Ahmed Lahlimi Alami, High Commissioner for Planning, Morocco
Ambet Yuson, General Secretary, Building and Woodworkers' International (BWI)