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Water Sustainability is Business Sustainability

February 23, 2012Patrick NunnallyUncategorizedComments Off on Water Sustainability is Business Sustainability

Here at the University of Minnesota, we’re charged with the responsibility to “think out ahead” of current events.  So while you may not have heard much yet about efforts to connect water sustainability to a company’s bottom line, believe me:  you will.

Why not get ahead of the news by attending a public lecture set for March 1 on the St. Paul campus of the U of M:  Mindy Lubber, an international leader in efforts by investors to lead and pressure multinational companies to adopt environmentally sustainable business practices, will talk about her work to develop better business practices concerning water.

Lubber is president of Ceres, a 22-year-old Boston-based nonprofit that works with companies like Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss and IBM to encourage the firms to make their products and processes more water-efficient and less vulnerable to climate change.The lecture, “Investing in Sustainability: Building Water Stewardship Into the Bottom Line,” is sponsored by the Freshwater Society and the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences. It will be at 7 p.m. in the theater of the Student Center on the university’s St. Paul campus.

As part of that work, Lubber directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, an alliance of 100 institutional investors who manage $10 trillion in assets. In 2011, she was voted one of “the 100 most influential people in corporate governance” by Directorship Magazine.

Lubber’s lecture will focus on the risks businesses and their shareholders face as a result of a population-driven demand for increased water use colliding with a fixed global supply, aggravated by more pronounced droughts and flooding resulting from climate change. She will offer specific examples of companies that are changing their business models to become more sustainable.

“From farms to power plants, mining to microprocessors, water is indispensable,” Lubber says. “But many in the private sector continue valuing water using outdated assumptions: It’s often seen as cheap, stable and uncontested when increasingly it’s none of those.”

Lubber, who earned a law degree and an MBA, founded the National Environmental Law Center in 1990, and she later launched the Green Century Capital Group, a mutual fund owned by nonprofit public interest organizations. She was one of the founders of Ceres, when it was started by a group of investors in response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

In 1998-2000, Lubber was deputy regional administrator, and later regional administrator, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in New England. She became Ceres’ president in 2003

Lubber’s lecture is the seventh in the Moos Family Speaker Series on Water Resources honoring the late Malcolm Moos, president of the university from 1967 to 1974.

About the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences
The College of Biological Sciences provides education and conducts research in all areas of biology, from molecules to ecosystems, supporting applications in medicine, renewable energy, ecosystem management, agriculture and biotechnology. For more information about research and degree programs, go to

About the Freshwater Society

The Freshwater Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring people to value, conserve and protect water resources. Located in Excelsior, Minn., adjacent to Lake Minnetonka, it has a long history of association with the University of Minnesota. Learn more at


Media Contact:

Patrick Sweeney

Freshwater Society




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