Pitt Water Conservation Panel to Explore 'Win-Win Solutions' for Business, Environment

Apr 6, 2015

Pittsburgh's rivers are vital to both the environmental and economic health of the region.
Credit Flickr user Mike Myers

While University of Pittsburgh students criticize a lack of campus wide initiatives during the institution’s “Year of Sustainability,” the Katz Graduate School of Business is gearing up to host a water conservation panel on Tuesday.

Brett Crawford, clinical assistant professor of business administration, will moderate the panel, which includes Jeff Thompson, former executive director of CalTrout, Laura Ziemer, water policy advisor with Trout Unlimited, and Chris Williams, senior vice president of conservation with American Rivers.

“My intention of the panel is to set aside the really strong pro-business and really strong pro-environment perspectives to understand how major corporations have collaborated with environmental associations to create win-win solutions for everybody,” Crawford said.

Crawford gave the example of a partnership between Trout Unlimited and Coca-Cola to restore the Sun River in Montana.

Crawford said conservation is good for a business’s bottom line, but that corporations should think about more than profits when approaching questions of environmental protection.

“One of the arguments that I make time and time again, which I think the panel supports, is that businesses have a responsibility to create value across … three perspectives: people, planet and profit,” Crawford said.

Crawford said the discussion is particularly timely given the ongoing drought in California and recent water quality emergencies in West Virginia and Ohio. Plus, he said, both the business and environmental ecosystems in the Pittsburgh region are intimately tied to the rivers.

“We have a long history of industrial development influencing the quality of our rivers, and we have the emergence of the energy industry now and the impact that industries like that have on our river system,” Crawford said.

The panel will take place at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the University Club on the University of Pittsburgh campus and is free and open to the public.