Hi all! I’m Gareth and I’m a second year student at Lancaster University studying Management and Organisations. My biggest interest is Ethics and Sustainability and by investigating whether all decisions have an ethical dimension that is based on our virtues and belief systems or whether our integrity forces us to act in a particular way that is socially acceptable. It also interests me why we implement change in order to become more economically and environmentally stable and the impact this has on the surrounding society. Does this change the dimensions in which we perceive business or is it our moral values that have the most impact on the society we surround ourselves with?
This is why I am incredibly excited to be attending the WBCSD conference in India this October. Not only is this a fascinating experience, one of which I’m excited to be apart of, but also this allows me to combine interests in culture with sustainability and this is very exciting as it will allow me to gain a first hand experience as to how and why decisions are made and the impact this has not only on sustainability but the continuous effects in regards to other areas of importance such as society, economy and gain a first hand experience of how all factors integrate with each other.
Why does culture interest me? It is amazing how one word can spark even the dullest of imaginations. Culture fascinates me! I find it remarkable how such an integral part of our daily lifestyle can have such a profound impact on the functioning of society. It truly astounds me how such an important factor can have such significant impact on the foundations of a society.
Anyone who knows me is aware I am a curious person, I enjoy seeing the world, embracing culture and seeing diversity first hand through exploring. I look forward to see what India will bring to my progress, but also what I can learn from the WBCSD conference and how I will develop as a person.
Humbleness goes a long way in life, and it is my belief that if you focus on what is good then you can eliminate the negatives one by one. My passion is ethical sustainability; by offering financial enrichment in the form of growth and by embracing culture I believe that you can focus on building the foundations for something incredibly sturdy. Thus, allowing the benefits to fruit and blossom; of which can only impact in a positive way and this is important as it indicates a rigorous thought process that shows all dynamics are being taken into consideration when making such monumental changes.
For that I ask you one question from an Indian Proverb:
Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swad?
“What would a monkey know of the taste of ginger?”
To summarise my first blog I believe this Indian proverb captures the essence of what I am trying to learn from the conference in Chennai. The implications are that ignorance cannot appreciate quality; the equivalent of casting pearls before swine and that is highly relevant. This proverb draws reflection of the fact that a monkey will never taste the ginger so that they do not know what they do not have. If we explore this a little deeper it indicates that ignorance of something you do not know may lead to inexperience and failure.
This is just one area of sustainability that interests me, however, I also believe very strongly that water holds significant value in the regards for improving sustainability. Look below to see my essay of the importance of water within sustainability and one of the areas I will be focusing on at the WBSCD Conference in Chennai.
By Gareth Gartside
“In Action2020 nine priority areas are outlined to address environmental and social issues; a growing set of business solutions has been developed to combat these. Pick one business solution and critically evaluate how this solution contributes to addressing climate change.”
Water is considered to be one of the most fundamental assets of our functioning day and therefore it is precious. Water in context is not only one of our daily needs for survival but also is implemented as a necessary tool in order to function and therefore should be considered to be of the most important of the nine priority areas out of Action 2020.
Action 2020 aims to make businesses sustainable, and as a result of making businesses sustainable the contribution to the environment should also show a strong positive agenda for the development of sustainable activity. This highlights the need of moving a vision into direct action. This is incredibly important as the fundamental necessity shows that “sustainable viable businesses strengthen a sustainable viable society”. (Bakker 2013)
Without the management of water, life on Earth would be incredibly limited. Water has incredible economic value and therefore should be managed and resourced in order to optimize its current value in the Economy. Management of sustainable water allows for other priority areas to thrive and that is one of the fundamental differences between water and other areas of priority in Action 2020. Water is all encompassing, renewable water and the sustainability of water increases agriculture and energy efficiency and clearly shows that there is an intrinsic link between water and climate change.
The importance of water is fundamental in addressing the business solution of water efficiency and the need to meet sustainability in regards to the worlds increasing need for water in agriculture and energy. Water resources are limited and therefore Action 2020 are looking towards businesses and governments to recycle water and make intelligent uses of materials that interlink in order to create an affluent society.
It is evident that there is an interconnected cycle between water; fuel, food, energy and climate change in which all impact each other. It has therefore been decided that upon development of the Stockholm Nexus Conference in 2011 that solutions put in place are there to instigate a green economy of which infers business watershed collaboration and also significantly reduce the untreated water wastage discharge in regards to the 2012 baseline figures.
This shows that the plan in operation is focused purely around climate change and how to optimize on water resources to ensure other priority areas have the tools in order to thrive and become sustainable. (Action 2020 : Cited 10th June 2016)
Sustainability is the key focus here and all efforts are aimed to ensure that maximum efficiency is used in order to gain the best possible results. Research shows that by 2030 there will be a 40% supply gap in which the amount that demand will be significantly higher than what is supplied and this is highly significant as it illustrates just how severe this problem actually is and the necessity of the challenge to reduce our demand for water on such little resources we have.
This is important as if we take this into context we can see just how draining this is, if we continue to use our natural resources up we shall not have any left. These resources are not unlimited and therefore have the potential to not be able to support our current lifestyle and therefore it reinforces the need for an eco lifestyle.
Furthermore, the impact of water is paramount to the success of the vision at WBCSD becoming a reality and something obtainable. The ultimate goal of WBCSD is that nine billion people will be living safe and well and this can’t be achievable if there is no sanitation and a standard of living and this is where water becomes an essential tool to the success of the organization.
The solutions put in place are recognized to ensure that by 2050 9 Billion people are living well (Action 2020: Water) and this can only happen if businesses aim to create solutions, raise awareness and become advocates of living well and large scale action. Why is this important? Raising awareness enables the opportunity for change and by allowing that opportunity this allows for businesses to have a strong impact within their local communities and that is incredibly important for not only sustainable living but also harmonious and collective understanding. (UNICEF 2014)
Moreover, if we consider this from a business perspective then there are only positives for the business. Working alongside Action 2020 ensures that the solutions implemented can have real change and that the businesses involved have further connections and can help combat climate change which is incredibly important. Water as stated before is an incredible tool for energy advancement and also if used correctly will ensure a decreasing amount of water wastage which will benefit the economy.
In 2008 it was the International Year of Sanitation and it was stated by 2015, the figure of 2.6 Billion who do not have access to sanitation should be reduced by half; it is now 2016 and the figure still stands at a staggering 1.4 billion and this simply needs to be decreased drastically. Action 2020 aim to improve the lives of these people by ensuring that by coming together we can all live in sanitation and good lifestyles whilst reducing change. (Moon, 2008)
To conclude, it is evident that Action 2020 set the agenda for sustainable development and this includes business solutions such as water and agriculture. Femke Groothius states that “To Connect Social and environmental issues is important as it allows us to build on real situations” (Groothius, 2016) and I completely agree. The solutions in place are strong however a change can only occur upon action and this is what this organization aims to do: function in a functional society not function in a dysfunctional society and this is why Action 2020 are the fundamental organization to develop solutions that are practical, impactful and operate beyond the usual constraints of a business.
Bakker, P., 2013. Pathways to Improved Water Security-Reflections. Aquatic Procedia, 1, pp.172-177.
Ki-Moon, B., 2008. On Responsible Sovereignty: International Cooperation for a Changed World. speech, Berlin, SG/SM/11701, 15, pp.138-140.
WHO/UNICEF Joint Water Supply, Sanitation Monitoring Programme and World Health Organization, 2014. Progress on drinking water and sanitation: 2014 update. World Health Organization.
World Business Council for Sustainable Development:
Cited 10th July 2016.
World Business Council for Sustainable Development:
Cited 10th July 2016
World Business Council for Sustainable Development/ Energy: