Milan Italy: KPMG is supporting Theo Rohfritsch (24) and Simon Valdenaire (25), as they Cycle for Water over 25,000 km from France to New Zealand, with the message of clean water for sustainable development. Over the 12 months of the journey, Theo and Simon will cycle across 21 countries raising awareness of the importance of clean water in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the EU Centre for Climate Adaptation, Italy, along with a many of its Southern European neighbors, could experience annual river flow decline by up to 80% as a result of climate change.
The water crisis, according to the World Economic Forum, is the number one global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation), and the number eight global risk based on likelihood (likelihood of occurring within 10 years). The effects are already being felt, however. One in nine of the world’s population does not having reliable access to clean and safe water and the UN estimates that economic losses due to the lack of water and sanitation in Africa as a result of the mortality and morbidity impacts are US$28.4 billion or about 5% of GDP. This is more than sub-Saharan Africa gets in aid per year.
Investment in infrastructure is crucial, and is broadly seen as an enabler in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals that will be adopted by UN member states this September. According to the World Health Organisation, investment in water management and infrastructure can yield an economic return by avoiding costs related to water pollution, contamination and disasters which are likely to increase because of the impacts of climate change. Estimates show that every US$1 invested in improved water supply and sanitation yields gains of $4-$12.
Lord Michael Hastings, Global Head of Citizenship for KPMG International, said “Water is essential for life. It is also crucial for business and for growth. Cycle for Water is a great opportunity for KPMG to challenge our people, clients and the communities in which we operate to make a difference by supporting Theo and Simon as the Cycle for Water and champion clean water for sustainable development”.
Cycle for Water started in 2010 with two Dutchmen, Joost Notenboom and Michiel Roodenburg, cycling 30,000 kilometers on sustainably sourced bamboo bikes from the Arctic to the Antarctic across the Pan-American Highway to raise awareness of the importance of clean water for sustainable development.
Since finishing the 30,000km ride on bamboo bicycles from the Arctic to the Antarctic for clean water, Joost and Michiel started to link primary school students with a local water project in a different part of the world, empowering them to organize and make a positive impact, while having fun cycling.
Theo and Simon have become custodians of Cycle for Water with their expedition from France to New Zealand.
For more information on Simon and Theo and Cycle for Water please visit:
With an MSc from Aston Business School in Sustainability, Theo was the only French student selected for the International Antarctic Expedition 2012, Robert Swan’s (OBE) leadership programme bringing together people from across the globe to debate, discuss and determine first-hand the effects of climate change.
A social entrepreneur and business school graduate, Simon is the founder of CSR-Resources.com, a collaboration platform for corporate responsibility practitioners. He was also a youth ambassador at the European Commission in 2013 at its EuDevDays. Simon is also an IDEX Fellow and founder of SENSD.org, a student's network for sustainability.