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New WBCSD Guide Supports Business Valuation of Nature

April 8, 2011

Allows Companies to Make Better Business Decisions by Valuing Ecosystem Services

GENEVA, April 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released the Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV), an innovative framework designed to enhance business understanding of the benefits and value of ecosystem services like fresh water, food, fiber and natural hazard protection.

This first-of-its-kind framework enables companies to consider the actual benefits and value of the ecosystem services they depend upon and impact, giving them new information and insights to include in business planning and financial analysis. This will support improved business decision-making by creating more alignment between the financial, ecological and societal objectives of companies.

“Biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation are continuing to escalate, thereby putting business at risk, but if managed properly, can be transformed into new opportunities,” said Bjorn Stigson, President of the WBCSD. “CEV allows business to fully recognize and value ecosystems and the services they deliver. I encourage all businesses, large and small, to use this Guide and integrate ecosystem values in their decision-making,” added Stigson.

The ecosystem valuation guide allows business to explicitly account for the full value of ecosystem impacts and inputs, including benefits linked to assets and costs associated with ecosystem loss. This links ecosystem service opportunities and risks more directly to a business’s core operations, supply chain and financial bottom line.

The CEV also provides clarity, consistency and guidance in approaches and techniques. The CEV was developed through an 18-month process of close collaboration with four partner organizations – Environmental Resources Management (ERM), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and World Resources Institute (WRI) – and businesses themselves. Fourteen WBCSD member companies road-tested the CEV Guide and were able to produce key examples of the opportunities and risks associated with ecosystems. The road-testers included: AkzoNobel, EDP, Eni, Eskom, GHD, Hitachi (Chemical), Holcim, Lafarge, Mondi, Rio Tinto, Syngenta, Veolia Environnement, Weyerhaeuser, and U.S. BCSD.

The Guide “operationalizes” The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), a key report released in October 2010 by the G8+5 Environment Ministers at COP 10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity. TEEB urges companies to support sustainable use and management of biodiversity as an integral part of their business plans. But, businesses cannot manage what they don’t measure, and CEV allows companies to value their ecosystem impacts, use and management.

The following is what some of the companies who road-tested the CEV had to say about the guide:

“CEV gives us a good opportunity to measure and review our business activities from a new perspective so that we can make the business decisions to achieve more sustainable business practices,” said Yoichi Takahashi, Deputy General Manager, Environmental Strategy Office, Hitachi.

“Applying the Guide for Corporate Ecosystem Valuation will allow EDP to gain a better understanding of risks involved and spotlight new opportunities,” said Antonio Mexia, CEO, EDP.

“We aim to be recognized as the leader in our sector in protecting and enhancing ecosystem services. Being involved with a dynamic new tool such as these guidelines from WBCSD keeps our knowledge at the forefront of our sector and gives us the opportunity to promote biodiversity as a key environmental challenge for everyone,” said Alain Bourguignon, CEO, Aggregate Industries UK, part of the Holcim Group.

“Business and ecosystems are inextricably linked. Simply put, companies that don’t know their ecosystem impact put their businesses at a greater risk and miss out on potential opportunities,” said James Griffiths, Managing Director, Ecosystems, Water and Sustainable Forest Products Industry for WBCSD. “Valuing these impacts and dependencies helps companies make better decisions. In addition, CEV allows business to become a bigger part of the solution to biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation rather than just part of the problem,” added Griffiths.

The Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV) was unveiled today at a launch event in Geneva, Switzerland. For a full copy of the Guide please click here.

About the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

The WBCSD is a CEO-led, global coalition of some 200 companies advocating for progress on sustainable development. Its mission is to be a catalyst for innovation and sustainable growth in a world where resources are increasingly limited. The Council provides a platform for companies to share experiences and best practices on sustainable development issues and advocate for their implementation, working with governments, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations. The membership has annual revenues of USD 7 trillion, spans more than 35 countries and represents 20 major industrial sectors. The Council also benefits from a network of 60 national and regional business councils and partner organizations, a majority of which are based in developing countries.

www.wbcsd.org

SOURCE World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)


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