The Disruptive Innovation Festival is an online festival of ideas that asks the question: what if we could redesign everything? During the DIF, we’ll be asking our speakers to tell us what they think is in store for the future of the economy. While watching you can chip in with your thoughts and questions: sign up for a free My DIF account and ask your question through the discussion forum below the live stream!
Water is the most important substance on Earth. For billions of years it has moved through the planet’s many ecosystems and geographic zones in a perfectly cyclical way. All living species need water to survive. Water is the material that constitutes the habitat of the aquatic organisms and the substance that sustains the metabolism of those that live on land. Since the beginning of life, earth’s many and varied life forms have had a relationship with water that is characterised by abundance, harmony and balance. This is because living organisms are part of the cycle.
In the last 200 years, human activities have started to make demands on the earth’s water resources in a manner that is much more intensive than nature’s capacity to renew. The effect is a disruption of the hydrological cycle leading to many adverse environmental impacts and economic risks. The situation is exacerbated by the negative feedback loop of increased population, that increases energy production, leading to more carbon emissions, leading to a higher frequency of droughts and floods. In short, water demand is rising at twice the rate of population growth and supplies are becoming more unpredictable. Things needs to change.
The circular economy is a conceptual framework has been used to analyse a number of different products, materials and regions, demonstrating the potential for huge benefits to businesses, citizens and the natural world. The question at the heart of this session is whether it can be applied to water. To try and answer this - a systems thinker, a utility company executive with 4 million customers and the CEO of a wastewater plant that has switched from being an energy consumer to an energy producer, gather to discuss the future of water.
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Phiippa is a Chartered Waste Manager with 17 years’ experience in resource management and the circular economy. She has been running an award-winning environmental consultancy, Low and Behold, for the last 11 years and has worked with public, private and third-sector clients on project and strategy development. She is a Non-Executive Director of an Environmental Services Company; a member of Glas Cyrmu, the not-for-profit parent company of Welsh Water and; a Fellow of the RSA.
Mads is the Executive Director and CEO of VCS Denmark / VandCenter Syd. VCS Denmark is the third largest water and wastewater company in Denmark, operating 7 waterworks, 8 wastewater treatment plants and 3400 km of water and wastewater pipeline network. Mads has been employed with the utility since 2008, as manager for wastewater treatment, operational manager for water and wastewater operations and as part of the executive team. Mads is also a member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA), International Water Association (IWA) and Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF).
Ben is the Water Efficiency Manager for Southern Water where he is developing future strategy, implementing new business models and delivering ambitious water efficiency targets. Before working for a Utility, Ben was Climate Change Advisor and then Environmental Affairs Manager for B&Q where he delivered key business sustainability targets and improvements to products purchased by customers. Ben’s early career was spent working for several politicians before major roles in the charitable sector.
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