CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A prominent chemist spoke Thursday night to members of the West Virginia Nature Conservancy about the importance of creating balance between environment and business.
Dr. Neil Hawkins, vice president of sustainability and environment, health and safety for Dow Chemical, spoke about a recent partnership between his company and the national Nature Conservancy. The partnership was made to help local businesses and corporations protect nature and invest in sustainable efforts, according to the Dow Chemical website.
Hawkins was the keynote speaker during the state chapter's annual Nature Conservancy Corporate Council dinner. Prominent local business leaders who have donated to the conservation group were there to receive thanks for their contributions.
"I understand the beauty and aesthetic beauty of nature, I love getting out into nature. I don't know how many people here think about nature's value for business," Hawkins said. "I am only just beginning to understand the benefit that nature has for the private sector."
He told an anecdote about a chemical plant operator in Texas who invested in preserving neighboring swamplands. The wetlands' value was of a greater value to the community than they were to Dow, which actually helped their profits, he said.
Conservation and renewable energy is the key to the next 10 years, he said, in which the world population will increase to more than 10 billion people.
He said Dow is moving toward using more solar energy at their plants.
"Our biggest challenge is to take conventional energy and use it and to remove the energy that is harming our planet," he said.
Rodney Bartgis<co >, director of the state's Nature Conservancy, thanked Dow for their efforts to work with others to conserve land, especially in West Virginia.