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Environmentalism conference brings big names to Oxford

Bill Clinton, James Cameron and Sir David Attenborough to speak at Oxford forum on resource scarcity
Ben Reavley on Sunday 8th July 2012
Photograph: inquisitr.com

Former US president Bill Clinton, Oscar-winning film director James Cameron, and documentary maker and environmentalist Sir David Attenborough are among the speakers attending a conference at Oxford next week.

The convention, ReSource 2012, which will be hosted by the University on July 12th-13th, hopes to find a solution to the problem of resource scarcity and volatility through commercial investment.

The convention and its 250 thinkers and leaders will meet in Exam Schools and the Ashmolean for two days, in association with the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment and The Rothschild Foundation.

ReSource 2012 aims to overcome the problem that our current model of growth is unsustainable. The event looks to “generate new ways of thinking about critical global issues” and to do this in collaboration with industry, creating an economy striving toward a long term goal of efficient and profitable resource use.

The array of speakers will include John Brock, CEO and Chairman of Coca-Cola Enterprises, Peter Brabeck, Chairman of Nestlé, Jeremy Grantham, the founder of GMO, a large investment fund, and the University’s own Chancellor, Baron Patten of Barnes. James Cameron will give a presentation as the participants dine in the Ashmolean.

Sir David King, Co-Director of the event, said “CEOs and investors must realise now more than ever that profitability need not rely on increased resource use.

The international financial community has the power to enact huge change to the current global system. Companies need to address these issues head-on and understand that resource efficiency and longer term thinking are potent drivers of shareholder value.' Sir David King is
former Chief Scientific adviser to the Government.

Whilst the convention is academically focused, there is still an appeal to the public. But King was keen to add the event hopes to “move away from the scaremongering and negative perceptions” sometimes associated with environmentalism.

It is perhaps an untimely moment to appeal to the leaders of industry to take a role in what is sometimes perceived as a charitable cause as Bob Diamond was forced to resign from Barclays this week. However, the event hopes to demonstrate that an appreciation of the problem can
open up opportunities that need not require a magnanimous attitude, but a traditional capitalist one.

The fusion of industry and academics at Oxford University shows a keenness for the institution to use its theoretical power with industry to realise the potential to solve global problems.

When asked about this merger, a second year PPE student said “The coalition of industry and academia at Oxford can only be a good thing for the economy. Furthermore, closer ties may make graduation jobs easier to come by, never a bad thing.”

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