ecostory 14/2006
Challenges of Water Scarcity - A Business Case for Financial Institutions
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Water Scarcety and Business development

Questions asked to johan.kuylenstierna at of

Goodday Mr. Kuylenstierna,

At the International Environment House (UNEP, etc.) in Geneva I found your brochure (not dated) with preliminary findings.

I quote from the document:

p.2 "Water scarcity ...has become a major factor impeding economic development and business operations"

On pages 3 to 5 you mention various "Risk Drivers and Consequences".

I notice that business in its own right is not mentioned as a risk driver.

Business activities, however, be it in agriculture, in resource extraction, in processing and manufacturing, or in the so-called "services" sector (which includes the very resource-intensive transportation) always use resources such as water and produce wastes.

The scale of business activities is measured in currency units and one can say that the higher the turnover in Dollars or Euros, the more business has an impact on the environment.

Economic development equals economic growth. (Non-material growth is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.) Therefore it is not water scarcity that impedes development but development that leads to scarcity.

The challenge for the financial institutions consists in adapting operations that recognise the finiteness of resources.

Financial institutions must lay off those of their economists that promote endless economic growth in a world that is increasingly feeling the effects of just that growth.

Our world has dramatically overshot its carrying capacity since our entire present level of production and consumption is singularily based on the consumption of non-renewable fossil fuels. Once these are gone, within the course of this century, we will fall back onto the level of our ancestors of the sixtteenth century, at best. At worst we will destroy the world by wars over the last remaining resources, includin drinking water.

Any real results in the search for alternative energies would only allow us to continue using resources other than energy at the same scale and continue the illusion that we could carry on our lives at the present levels of consumption .

Mr. Kuylenstierna, would you submit the above considerations to your colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute?

I thank you for your kind attention.

With kind regards,

Helmut Lubbers

Helmut Lubbers - Bd. Carl-Vogt 14 - CH-1205 Geneve, Suisse, +41 22 3212320

* Geluk is mogelijk zonder economische groei.
* le bonheur est possible sans croissance économique.
* happiness is possible without economic growth.
* Glück ist möglich ohne Wirtschaftswachstum.
*** *** ***

Helmut Lubbers, for, Geneva, 1 June 2006.

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