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Energy Journal Symposium Looks at Water Resources and Corporate Responsibility

Few resources on earth are as valuable and as endangered as water. In March, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that “approximately 80 percent of the world’s population already suffers serious threats to its water security.”

This trend appears to be a lasting one – by 2030 it is estimated that demand for fresh water will exceed supply by as much as 40 percent. In light of these discoveries, companies have put forth a renewed effort in the area of water security.

On February 13, 2015, the Washington and Lee Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment will host a symposium to address the role of corporate social responsibility in protecting water sources. This topic holds particular local relevance as West Virginia and North Carolina have experienced water contamination crises in recent months.

The symposium, titled, “Protecting Water Sources: Are Corporations Responsible?” will run from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.

One highlight of this event will be the Keynote address, to be delivered by Washington and Lee School of Law’s own Professor David Millon. He plans to explore the concept of shareholder responsibility, which asserts that the success of corporate social responsibility relies on shareholders maintaining a patient investment outlook.

This symposium will also feature three panels throughout the day, with topics ranging from the legal protections afforded to water to the drawbacks of utilizing corporations in water resource protection. Panelists will also examine international practices of encouraging sustainable water programs.

“What is really exciting about this symposium is that it explores a range of strategies for protecting water,” says W&L Law Prof. Kish Parella, the faculty adviser for the symposium. “The panels highlight the important roles that different actors can fulfill according to their capacities. As a result, the symposium offers a comprehensive examination of one of the world’s most urgent issues.”

Further information about the symposium participants can be found online at law.wlu.edu/water. For questions about the symposium contact jece@law.wlu.edu.