Green Shift: Calculating Ecosystem Services in Corporate Strategy

Are we there yet?

Have we reached the point where businesses take the globe’s natural resources into account when making decisions?

An April 2012 report from sustainability group BSR lays out where the private sector stands on accounting for natural resource issues in  corporate strategy.

The report uses the framework of ecosystem services, which is the study of what humans receive from the natural world.

The “services” that ecosystems provide to humans are things like food, water, air, and carbon sequestration.

Once described, a value can be attached to that benefit, or service.

Like, what’s the value of a tree? What do you gain by cutting it down? What value do you retain long-term by leaving it in place?

Each of these values can be studied and quantified, and taken into account when making business  decisions.

The authors conclude that while a great deal of work is underway to understand how to measure  ecosystem services, there is only the beginnings of knowing what to do about it.


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

This new report 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.

So, are we there yet? No. But the way ahead is getting clearer.