Click to hear Doug Baker's "Our Water Future" presentation from the 44th annual Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference.
At the 2012 Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference, Ecolab Chairman and CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr., discussed the issues surrounding the growing demand for fresh water around the world. During his presentation, Baker discussed the finite nature of our global water supply, as well as the role of industry in addressing water needs.
Baker discussed how the rate of water consumption around the world is unsustainable, yet fundamental to daily living as well economic growth. This disconnect poses a problem that demands immediate attention. “The answer comes down to the old equation of supply and demand,” Baker commented. “And we’re going to have to work on both sides of the equation.”
At Ecolab, much of our focus is on the development of technologies to address the demand side of the issue. Baker shared the work that Ecolab has done to drastically decrease water usage in industries ranging from food and beverage processing, to hospitality, to pulp and paper manufacturing. “The necessary technologies take minor changes and capital to implement,” he said, “but a real commitment to change is necessary for these technologies to be successful.”
Baker also described how a variety of industries can help address the issue through partnerships and government cooperation, also emphasizing the value of cooperation across industries and with NGOs. One such partnership is Ecolab’s work with the Alliance for Water Stewardship, which is working to establish industrial water standards. Ecolab also strives to make a difference through community projects such as watershed protection in the Taihu Basin area in China, an area not far from a new Ecolab manufacturing facility.
Baker wrapped up his remarks by encouraging all attendees to participate in the UN International Year of Water Cooperation in 2013.
“This problem is big, it’s real, but it’s also something you can influence,” he said. “It will affect every one of us, every one of our businesses and every one of our future opportunities if we don’t address these challenges moving forward.”
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