Water Professionals to Convene at Industrial Leaders Forum

The second edition of the Industrial Leaders Forum 2013 will be held in Amsterdam, Thursday Nov. 7, as part of International Water Week

Industrial Leaders Forum 2013 International Water Week Amsterdam Aquatech

Water issues have entered the boardrooms of large companies. The effects of extreme heavy rainfall on one side of the globe can disrupt production on the other side. This was made apparent in 2011 when severe floods in Thailand affected the Japanese car industry, along with the chip industry in the U.S. Heavy water users in highly populated areas are forced to lower their use of water or even relocate their production sites to secure an undisrupted supply of drinking water to cities. Water-related risks move companies beyond corporate social responsibility thus making them act as stakeholders amongst other water users. Business leaders at the Rio 20+ Corporate Sustainability Forum in June 2012 agreed to lead the way towards the next generation of sustainability performance.

Based on the background of these two important international developments, the second edition of the Industrial Leaders Forum 2013 (ILF) will take place in Amsterdam, Thursday Nov. 7. The event is part of International Water Week Amsterdam, and coincides with the water technology fair Aquatech Amsterdam 2013.

"Looking back at the previous edition we talked about the need to close the water cycle,” said Menno M. Holterman, who will be once again leading the forthcoming ILF. "All around the world this seems to be a serious challenge and that is why it is so important to keep the dialogue going between industries, the water technology sector, water utilities, water boards, and the world of science. One of the key issues is to develop affordable water technology that facilitates more water reuse and enables the recovery of usable raw materials. Innovation and integration play a crucial role in successfully implementing solutions for a green economy in order to meet ever demanding water and sustainability requirements.

"For this we need different kinds of disruptive water technologies and closer cooperation of all relevant stakeholders to resolve the water-energy-food nexus. To achieve these ambitious sustainability goals, integrated solutions are needed. These cannot be developed by the water sector on its own therefore the best available human talent needs to be attracted to our industry.”

The winner of the Wetskills Water Challenge, which involves young water and industrial professionals, will be invited to challenge the captains of industry to faster implement these desired changes.

The panel consists of speakers from Coca-Cola, Akzo Nobel and Heineken and water professionals from Pentair and Amiad. In addition to these panel members, a new element in this year's forum is the presence of financial experts and consultants from Rabobank and professional services firm PWC.

"The introduction of finance and accounting completes the debate where the closing of the water cycle means that we look at the water footprint of the whole product cycle—from the production of the raw materials up to the end consumer. This involves larger and more complex investments by different stakeholders. At the same time the achievements in sustainability need to be recognized and certified which play an important role in knowing about the water footprint for the entire product cycle," Holterman said.

With the active participation of young water and industry professionals, financial experts and captains of industry joining the forum, Holterman is convinced that the debate will be as exciting and profitable as the last. By sharing the many innovative ideas and practical solutions for solving water challenges, this year’s Industrial Leaders Forum provide solid answers to respond to future water challenges.

Amsterdam RAI

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