The World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) are pleased to announce the release of the Corporate Ecosystem Services Review Version 2.0, an updated guidance document and set of resources to help business managers develop ecosystem-related strategies.
Companies depend on and impact the services that healthy ecosystems provide such as freshwater, wood, water purification, carbon sequestration, pollination and natural hazard protection. Degradation of these “ecosystem services,” therefore, can pose a number of risks to corporate performance, as well as create new business opportunities. Making the connection between the health of ecosystems and the business bottom line is essential – but how? The Corporate Ecosystem Services Review (ESR) is designed to address this need. Since its release in March 2008, an estimated 300 corporations have used the ESR. And 94% of WBCSD member survey respondents indicated they would recommend the ESR to others.
The ESR is a structured methodology for corporate managers to proactively develop strategies for managing business risks and opportunities arising from their company’s dependence and impact on ecosystems. It is a tool for strategy development, not just for environmental assessment. Businesses can either conduct an ESR as a stand-alone process or integrate it into their existing environmental management systems. In both cases, the method can complement and augment the environmental due diligence tools companies already use.
What’s new in the Ecosystem Services Review 2.0
In ESR 2.0, new decision support tools will help companies better understand and capitalize on the specific business value they receive from ecosystem services, such as the WBCSD’s Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation. The Corporate Ecosystem Services Review 2.0 has been updated to draw on these developments.
WRI and WBCSD are also releasing new ESR case studies to accompany or supplement the ESR 2.0. The short case studies provide on-the-ground illustrations of how to conduct an ESR and represent a range of sectors operating in several different countries, such as:
Mondi, Europe’s largest pulp and paper company, conducted an ESR on three of their tree plantations in South Africa. The ESR highlighted methods the company could use to increase its supply of freshwater while improving the surrounding environment, strengthening its relationship with local communities, and reducing operational costs.
The global cement giant CEMEX used the ESR to uncover new ways to improve quarry rehabilitation that can increase the company’s return on investment and better execute CEMEX’s corporate-wide sustainability objectives.
Lafarge North America, a cement and aggregates company, used the ESR in combination with ecosystem valuation tools at a cement quarry on the Michigan shores of Lake Huron. The ESR informed mining design and rehabilitation plans, identifying ways the company could reduce costs and enhance the company’s land asset values over a 45-year period.
Yves Rocher, a French cosmetics company, conducted an ESR to guide development of a corporate-wide biodiversity strategy. As a result, the company uncovered new opportunities to secure supply chain resilience to ecosystem change and to improve the company’s brand.
Syngenta, one of the world’s leading companies in the agriculture sector, conducted an ESR in a growing market for the company, small farms in south India. The ESR helped the company identify risks its customers face due to ecosystem degradation and, in turn, find opportunities for Syngenta to offer new products and services that mitigate these risks.