Developing Strategies for Ecosystem Dependence and Impacts: Ecosystem Services Review 2.0 Published

The original Ecosystem Services Review (ESR) that was released in 2008 has been improved. The revised ESR now contains information about the resources needed to conduct a review. In addition, links to new tools and guidance such as the Corporate Ecosystem Valuation guide is provided. It also included new insights from recent studies such as the TEEB study.

08/02/2012 – Many companies are not fully aware of the extent of their dependence and impact on ecosystems and environmental management systems and environmental due diligence tools are often not fully attuned to the risks and opportunities arising from the degradation and use of ecosystem services. The Corporate Ecosystem Services Review (ESR) is designed to address these gaps. It consists of a structured methodology that helps managers proactively develop strategies to manage 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 Ecosystem Services Review as a stand-alone process or integrate it into their existing environmental management systems.

As of 2012, an estimated 300 companies have used the Ecosystem Services Review. In addition, complementary tools and guidance now exist to help companies more fully assess business risks and opportunities emerging from ecosystem change. For example, in 2011 the World Business Council for Sustainable Development released the Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV), which provides information on how to quantitatively, or in some cases monetarily, assess risks and opportunities related to ecosystem services. CEV can therefore be a logical next step after undertaking an ESR. The ESR remains a fundamental starting point for companies to assess business risks and opportunities related to ecosystem change.

This publication describes the five steps for performing an Ecosystem Services Review. It provides an analytical framework, case examples, and helpful suggestions for each step. It concludes by highlighting a number of resources managers can use when conducting an ESR, including a "dependence and impact assessment” spreadsheet, scientific reports, economic valuation approaches, and other issue-specific tools.

The ESR was developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the World Resource Institute (WRI) and the Meridian Institute.

You can find more information and the study itself here.
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