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ELI 2016 Corporate Forum: The Business of Water

January 2017

Citation: ELR 10005

Author: Alexandra Dunn, Stewart Leeth, Michael Mahoney, Betsy Otto, Dawn Rittenhouse, and Vail Thorne

As climate change alters global weather patterns and the earth’s population continues to grow and urbanize, water resources are poised to become an ever increasing catalyst for volatility, even in regions where water scarcity has not historically been an issue. Water law and policy is complex, varying regionally, country by country, and even within national borders. As more stakeholders compete for decreasing or increasingly stressed water resources, businesses around the world are changing the way they view water within their business model, and policymakers are looking at new levers to ensure responsible use of this increasingly precious resource. On October 25, 2016, ELI convened an expert panel of business leaders, legal scholars, and nongovernmental advocates for an indepth discussion about the law, policies, and private initiatives that will play important roles in the future of water resource governance. In this Dialogue, we present a transcript of the discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

Alexandra Dunn (moderator), Executive Director and General Counsel, Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) and Adjunct Associate Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law. Stewart Leeth, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer, Smithfield Foods. Michael Mahoney, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Chief Environmental Compliance Counsel, Pfizer Inc. Betsy Otto, Global Water Program, World Resources Institute. Dawn Rittenhouse, Director of Sustainability, DuPont Company. Vail Thorne, Senior Managing Environmental, Health and Safety Counsel, The Coca-Cola Company.

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