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Panelists Discuss Sustainable Development and The Greening of Business

October 1, 2000
CONTACT: Bill Giduz

by Tim Cook '04

A panel of economist/environmentalist/business experts spoke about "Sustainable Development" at the Dean Rusk Environmental Conference on Wednesday, September 26.
Davidson student Carlos Lacayo '02 introduces the panelists.

The panelists --Rick Bunch of the World Resources Institute, Dr. John Schilling of the World Bank, and Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute -- said their topic concerned developing as a society without hurting future resources and generations.

Davidson Economics Professor David Martin moderated the event, and panelists were introduced by Davidson student Carlos Lacayo '02.

Rick Bunch, director of business education at the World Resources Institute, said his job is teaching businesses how to be environmentally efficient and profitable at the same time. He said many businesses are willing to clean up and waste fewer resources if consumers demand it. He asserted that when consumers support a business, profits will eventually be there as well, even if it costs a few extra dollars to clean up production.
Panelists (l-r) Jerry Taylor, John Shilling, and Rick Bunch.

Dr. John Schilling , a retired member of the World Bank and former economic advisor to Morocco, observed that companies are doing a better job about not wasting their resources. He commented that Davidson was even trying to save energy by not turning on but a few lights in the gallery! Schilling reiterated what Bunch said about businesses cleaning up their practices in hopes of bigger profits. He used Nike as an example, saying that Nike lost a lot of money when people found out it was using "sweatshop" labor. The company realized that its methods of production is meaningful to many consumers. "We're trying to get industry to be green," he said.

Jerry Taylor, director of natural resources studies at the Cato Institute, directed a slide show with graphs and charts about the state of many of Earth's resources. Taylor pointed out that oil reserves and natural gas availability, among others, has actually increased in the last few years. He said this is due not to growing resources, but to new technology that is allowing more wells to be tapped.

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