Across the west, business leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the potential risk that record droughts present to the economy and our quality of life.
How will we provide sufficient water in one of the country’s driest states, even as our population and economy continues to grow?
Utah’s spectacular natural environment – and specifically our water resources – is a legacy passed to us from preceding generations. It provides recreational opportunities and natural beauty that attracts great companies and employees. Our water resources also keep our communities strong and are an essential part of many business processes. We must thoughtfully approach how we appropriately balance these economic interests.
In a 2014 survey of over 50 companies, the majority Fortune 500 and publicly traded representing virtually every industry sector, was released by the Pacific Institute and VOX Global, titled Bridging Concern with Action: Are US Companies Prepared for Looming Water Challenges?This survey found that nearly 60 percent of responding companies indicated that water is poised to negatively affect business growth and profitability within five years, while more than 80 percent said it will affect their decision on where to locate facilities. This is a stark increase from only five years ago, when water issues affected business growth and profitability for less than 20 percent of responding companies.
To begin to address these issues, the Salt Lake Chamber launched “Utah | Water is Your Business” initiative and a policy-oriented task force of a broad based set of business leaders. This initiative’s key goal is to educate the business community and public on the challenges Utah faces in water, support the creation of a statewide water strategy led by Governor Herbert and promote best practices and innovation in water utilization for businesses through the “Utah | Water is Your Business” and “Slow the Flow” initiatives.
Next week, the Chamber and its “Utah | Water is Your Business” initiative will join a national conversation on water with stories of Utah businesses leading through example on using water wisely. This week long effort will conclude with a half-day Utah: Water Is Your Business Forum on Friday, May 8, 2015.
This features keynote speaker Will Sarni, a director with Deloitte Consulting LLP. Sarni develops and implements corporate-wide sustainability and water strategies for corporations, public sector enterprises and NGOs. He authored Corporate Water Strategies, Water Techand the forthcoming 21st Century Growth: Beyond the Energy-Water-Food Nexus.
This forum will also include community water experts and thought leaders discussing Utah’s water future. In addition, this forum will include,a panel focused on what impacts Utah’s economy from a regional water perspective and workshops to promote best practices and innovation in water utilization for businesses.
Business leadership is required if we are going to ensure we use every drop of water as efficiently and effectively as possible. We hope you will join us.
To register for the event head to www.slchamber.comor to share the impact water has on your business contact [email protected].
Additionally, Utah’s water is future is a critical part the Envision Utah – Your Utah, Your Future – visioning process. We encourage you share you voice in Utah’s future at www.envisionutah.org.
Utah Water is Your Business Forum Flyer by UtahPolicy