The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Strategic CSR - Fidelity

A recent ad by Fidelity Investments contains an interesting fact that puts into perspective our growing demand for meat and the environmental consequences of what should be a luxury product:

It takes 635 gallons of water to make one hamburger.

The ad, which is reproduced in the article in the url below and is part of a larger campaign (http://thinkingbig.fidelity.com/), discusses the changing access to resources which will increasingly become a factor of day-to-day life as global population and rapid economic growth make resource access a central concern in coming years:

It takes 35 gallons of water to make one cup of coffee. Why? Because of all the water used to cultivate coffee beans. Similarly, it can take about 635 gallons to make one hamburger because of all the water required to grow feed for the cows. … Because global water consumption is expected to increase by 40% over the next 20 years, water shortages may get more acute and widespread, spurring more reliance on desalination technologies, water reuse, and conservation. The results could have massive economic, ecological, and geopolitical consequences, creating investing opportunities in places you may never have considered.

Of course, Fidelity wants to make money out of the uncertainty. For the rest of us, it is worth considering the hidden costs (environmental and social) of the purchase decisions we make every day.