Carbon Disclosure Project Founder at Webster: On the Environmental Benefits of 21st Century Communications

| June 28, 2011
Paul Dickinson speaks at Webster University

Paul Dickinson, Carbon Disclosure Project, speaks in Webster University's Emerson Library.

“You are living the future. You are really making a successful enterprise out of the biggest opportunity of the 21st century.”

Those were the words Paul Dickinson had for Webster University Tuesday morning, when the founder and executive chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) led a worldwide discussion with Webster University students and faculty about how this century’s emerging communications technologies can conserve resources, protect the environment, and connect far points of the globe in economically productive ways.

The CDP is an independent not-for-profit organization holding the largest database of primary corporate climate change information in the world. Dickinson’s presentation was held in the Emerson Library on Webster’s St. Louis campus, but it was streamed live around the planet to the campuses within Webster’s global network.

The full talk is archived on YouTube and embedded here:


Resource Stewardship Will Drive New Profit Models

Dickinson believes that competition for natural resources like oil and water will drive markets to consider new business and profit models, and increased investments in advanced communications networks will create nearly limitless economic growth opportunities that are free from the restraints of time, distance or geography.

Paul Dickinson at Webster

Paul Dickinson

“I believe the greatest democracy and dialog in the world is how people spend their money every day,” Dickinson said.

On this point he highlighted how CDP is not simply based on concern for the environment, but also on recognition of where money will be spent as the value of different resources change. In short, economic growth can be driven in ways that also reduce behaviors that increase greenhouse gases and accelerate climate change.

Webster University was an obvious choice as host for the event, as the University has offered online courses since 1999. Webster’s “World Classroom” provides online courses that students can access from anywhere, at any time: Currently 3,500 students, including active military deployed throughout the world, have chosen to learn in a fully online manner.

Communications: Driving a ‘2nd American Century’

Dickinson said such applications will be part of a “second American century” built on critical communication technologies, just as previous centuries pivoted on advancements in river, rail and air transport.

Paul Marske, City of Webster Groves sustainability committee chairman; Chris Amos, commissioner of equipment services, City of St. Louis; Paul Dickinson; Ron Horstmann, fleet efficiency, City of St. Louis; Webster President, Elizabeth (Beth) Stroble

One company that plays a big part in modern communication technology advances, AT&T, was represented at the event by Debbie Hollingsworth, a Webster alumna who is vice president of external affairs at the communications giant.

The event was also attended in person by several other guests who play a role in this model of thinking: Paul Marske, City of Webster Groves chairman of the sustainability committee; Chris Amos, commissioner of equipment services, City of St. Louis; Paul Dickinson; Ron Horstmann, fleet efficiency, City of St. Louis;  and Jim Wolterman, Webster Groves resident and owner of SWT Landscape Design.

Coinciding with this discussion, Dickinson and the CDP released a “white byte,” titled “Building a 21st Century Communications Economy,” which builds on this theme. As an addendum to the report, CDP identified four St. Louis businesses and organizations that are planting the seeds of a communications economy: the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Webster University and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

At the conclusion of the talk, Webster University president Elizabeth (Beth) Stroble presented Dickinson with a book of poetry by David Clewell, the poet laureate of Missouri who is a Webster University English professor and director of Webster’s Creative Writing program.

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Category: International & U.S. Campuses, St. Louis Campus News, Webster Events, Webster News

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