The way a company’s impact and dependence on freshwater, climate regulation and pollination is measured and reported is discussed in a new publication, launched by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). GRI provides a comprehensive sustainability reporting framework that is widely used around the world. Many organisations already monitor their pressures on ecosystems – biological environments that include living and non-living things like plants, animals, soil and water – for example, by measuring their emissions and effluents. But this does not take into account all the benefits that people derive from ecosystems, or the company’s reliance on the ecosystems.
The new publication, Approach for reporting on ecosystem services: Incorporating ecosystem services into an organization's performance disclosure, released today, looks at emerging thinking around ecosystem services and gives organizations options for reporting. It outlines the ways that companies can monitor and report their relationship with ecosystem services.
Jolanda van Schaick, one of the authors and Senior Consultant at CREM, said: "Ecosystems are not just about exotic plants and rare animals, they also provide services, like freshwater, pest regulation and natural medicines. Companies have an impact on these services, and also depend on them to support operations. Today's publication paves the way for guidance to support companies that want to report these impacts and dependencies, and encourages transparency around their relations with ecosystem services.”
Monica Barcellos, one of the authors and Head of Business, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at UNEP-WCMC said: "Several organizations are exploring ways to report impacts on ecosystem services, but no global agreement on the most appropriate way has been found yet. The discussions and ideas collected in this publication provide a good basis for possible future designing of generally accepted reporting indicators.”
The new publication suggests indicators that organizations could use to assess and report their impacts on ecosystem services. Some examples of reporting indicators on Ecosystem Services include: