Tuesday 10th May 2011: JustShare Debate: 'War and Water: A future of insecurity?'
With Dan Smith OBE, Secretary General of International Alert, and Louise Clancy, Mayor of London's Programme Officer for Climate Change and Water. Simon Mills, Head of Sustainability at the Corporation of London, was in the chair.
We learnt that 1.2bn people currently have inadequate access to clean water, that world population is still growing, that the Gobi desert is spreading at the rate of 2500 square miles/year, that India could exhaust its water supply by the middle of this century, that the average Londoner uses 162 litres of water each day for domestic use but - horrifyingly - that the average Londoner accounts for 4,500 litres of water usage each day if the water used to produce electrical equipment, clothing etc etc is considered. It takes 140 litres of water to produce just one cup of black coffee without sugar and between 10,000 and 20,000 litres to produce 1kg of beef.
Water scarcity and its causes were made very clear to us, and the consequences - resource wars - were shown to be potentially enormous. Dan Smith argued that the first step to water security in developing countires was building a peaceful and stable state. Louise and Simon agreed that people - our understanding and behaviour - rather than technology were ultimately most important in increasing water security, although technology and systems such as water-footprinting had a role to play.
Tuesday 19th April 2011 at 1.05pm: 'The Pay of Top Chief Executives has increased too much'
Speakers: Sir Paul Judge (Chair of Schroder Income Growth Fund plc) and Mark Littlewood (Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs). Chair: Richard Edgar (Financial Times)
We welcomed a very distinguished panel of speakers for this topical debate, in which Sir Paul Judge spoke first in favour of the motion. He stated that the pay of CEOs has increased by an average of 15% per annum over the last 15 years, whilst the average wage has increased by just 4% p.a. over the same period, whilst a CEO's pay was typically 80 times that of the lowest paid employee in the company. He argued that there were practical and moral reasons to reduce this differential, but noted that it was extremely difficult to halt the spiralling of CEO pay because Remuneration Committees would always want to pay their CEO an 'above average' wage. Mark Littlewood responded that CEOs should be paid substantially more to reflect their substantially larger contribution to the company. He suggested that footballers and filmstars were paid far more than many CEOs, and argued that it was impossible to say how much 'too much' is. The most important thing, he proposed, was to avoid interfering with the free market by seeking to regulate CEO pay.