Posts Tagged ‘ecosystem services’
Environmental Research Digest – June 2012
BSR’s new report outlines trends and emerging activities to help companies understand why and where they can begin to integrate the concept of ecosystem services into their strategic decisions. BSR’s interviews with corporate managers—the first in-depth, corporate interviews ever conducted on ecosystem services—revealed that companies are exploring the importance of this concept as never before.
- Based on our tracking of this issue across academic, NGO, and public and private sectors since 2007, it is clear that the concept of ecosystem services has finally come of age.
- Business exploration of ecosystem services is occurring because of questions from government agencies, scrutiny from investors, and a desire by companies to maintain a leadership position within their sector.
- More specifically, executives from the oil and gas, mining, chemicals, entertainment, and tourism industries believe an ecosystem services perspective offers new insights that existing approaches to managing environmental and social impact do not address.
- Companies are applying ecosystem services concepts using two approaches:
- Decision-making approach: Risks and dependencies on ecosystem services are incorporated into processes tied to corporate strategy, corporate finance, supply chain and real estate management, and product-lifecycle assessments.
- Business-activities approach: Ecosystem services are integrated within specific activities that effectively expand their environmental and social assessment processes.
- Once a company has determined that ecosystem services warrant additional focus, the question shifts to how to apply ecosystem services concepts and decision-making aids to business activities.
- At this stage, companies ask: Can we make better capital decisions, enable more efficient operations, manage risk, and address customer needs through the application of ecosystem services analytical approaches and tools?
- The set of corporate experiences to date highlights many unanswered questions.
- For instance, there are not yet widely agreed-upon, coherent guidelines on specific indicators to track, measure, and assess findings—ideally in a way that maps to existing corporate environmental assessment processes and protocols.
- In addition, companies lack direction on how to prioritize some ecosystem services over others, particularly when key stakeholders disagree about priorities.
- Ultimately, the key to integrating ecosystem services into environmental management will be companies’ success in demonstrating how this work will help managers deliver projects on time and within budget.
- Given this context, the report identifies three priorities to achieve progress more quickly:
- Document corporate applications of ecosystem services concepts in decision-making processes.
- Synthesize lessons learned from corporate applications.
- Update, maintain, and manage knowledge related to corporate applications of ecosystem services concepts.