AUSTIN, TX – June 14, 2011 – With financial support from ConocoPhillips, Entergy Corporation and The Walmart Foundation, the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) has launched a water synergy project aimed at addressing regional water challenges in the New Orleans to Baton Rouge Mississippi River Corridor. The US BCSD seeks to achieve tangible water conservation and quality improvements, and establish a long-term water collaboration plan in the region by harnessing collective industry capabilities and interests. In addition, it plans to develop a replicable work process that could be applied in other water-challenged regions.
Between 20 and 30 diverse companies and business organizations are expected to participate and bring their collective interests and capabilities to bear on the water challenges facing the region. Interest also will be solicited from local and regional governments and non-governmental organizations such as parks, wildlife organizations and water conservation groups as specific water management strategies are prioritized for action. Organizations interested in participating should contact Susan Fernandes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project responds to an increased awareness of the importance of water management to business sustainability, the economy, and society. Specific challenges include fresh water quantity and quality, storm water management, and energy efficiency in wastewater treatment and distribution. Because challenges in this area are so complex, viable solutions for a watershed or region require crossing traditional boundaries and reconciling often-competing interests of business, municipal, rural, and ecosystem water needs.
In development since October 2010, the project will apply the US BCSD’s facilitated collaborative work process to provide a safe zone where public and private stakeholders can identify issues, find and prioritize alternative solutions, and craft implementation plans for their watershed/region. The project will use customized tools including the US BCSD By-Product Synergy database and WBCSD Global Water Tool to accelerate and document actions taken.
ConocoPhillips, Entergy and the Walmart Foundation have provided $120,000 in funding to support the launch of the project, which each funder has called an innovative systems approach that holds great potential to bring together public and private sectors to address critical regional water challenges. In addition, ConocoPhillips and Entergy have provided representatives who have provided guidance in the initial planning stages and are serving as co-chairs on the project’s steering team along with representatives from the Dow Chemical Company, AECOM, URS, Veolia Water North America and ERM.
The US BCSD has a 20-year track record of successful By-Product Synergy and Afforestation projects, which demonstrates that collaborations can grow in value, lasting years, or even decades, and are capable of accomplishing long-term results that generate economic returns while improving the environment and society — the triple bottom line. In this new type of project, the collaborative approach is aimed at bringing watershed stakeholders together to develop resilient water management practices that foster mutually beneficial agreements rather than competitive tensions.
The US BCSD is a results-focused non-profit business association whose members work on authentic sustainability projects with industry, governmental and other key stakeholders. It is part of a network of 60 national councils worldwide focused on actually implementing sustainable development. It is also a partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a global network of 200 international companies with members drawn from 30 countries and 20 major industrial sectors.
ConocoPhillips, a US BCSD member, is an integrated energy company with interests around the world. Headquartered in Houston, the company had approximately 29,600 employees, $160 billion of assets, and $226 billion of annualized revenues as of March 31, 2011. For more information, go to www.conocophillips.com.
Entergy Corporation, a US BCSD member, is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. The Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness.