The Quiet (R)Evolution in Expectations of Corporate Environmental Performance

The amount of activity related to ecosystem services within government, business, financial services, and academics indicates that the concept has finally come of age. This new report from BSR lays out the current state of play of the uptake of ecosystem services and describes the emerging activity within the private sector related to integrating ecosystem services into decisions.

31/05/12 - Companies face a wide and growing range of issues, from labor through environmental impacts in supply chains, manufacturing, product use, and end of life. The challenge for corporate managers is to assess the relevance of a specific issue, prioritize among issues, and recommend pathways forward.

For companies, the implication of an ecosystem services analytical approach is simple. The focus would no longer be on the upward or downward direction of individual metrics. Rather, an ecosystem services analytical approach is one that considers not just the individual parts but also the functioning of the whole—that is, how multiple parameters contribute to (or undercut) the ability of a broader ecological system to produce the goods and services that people have come to expect and enjoy.

This issue frame is increasingly being embraced due to concerns about the status of ecosystem services. The signals that ecosystem services concepts are beginning to shape expectations of and even requirements for, the private sector are increasing.

While ecosystem services concepts and approaches are gaining advocates, the challenge for companies pivots around if, when, and how to take action. The aim of this report is to provide a better understanding of the uptake of ecosystem services concepts and the emerging business case for action, of any kind, related to ecosystem services. In issuing this synthesis of the current state of play, BSR’s Ecosystem Services Working Group hopes to deepen understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with applying ecosystem services concepts and tools in private sector settings as well as to move the field of application forward.

For the report click here.

For more information on BSR’s work related to ecosystem services, please see the BSR website.
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