Are You Analyzing How You Impact Ecosystems?

Forests provide pure water and regulate temperatures. Wetlands help mitigate floods. Businesses can hurt these and other ecosystem services (like wind breaks and the pollination of crops) or then can assist and benefit from them.

A new report from Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) looks at seven tools business can use to assess their impacts on ecosystem services, and also makes the case on why companies should know risks and opportunities associated with ecosystem services.

"Given the growing efforts around environmental markets and policy changes to protect environmental services, companies need to understand their dependencies and impacts on ecosystem services," said Linda Hwang, BSR's manager of environmental research and development.

Companies may face accountability over how they affect ecosystems, whether from regulations or from stakeholders. Companies can also benefit from better understanding their impacts on ecosystems, either from mitigating risks or from winning new business and investors.

"Measuring Corporate Impact on Ecosystems: A Comprehensive Review of New Tools" looks at two types of tools: some analyze multiple ecosystem services, others focus more on biodiversity linked to ecosystem services. The report includes a look at the similarities and differences among the tools, compares their strengths and weaknesses from a corporate perspective and gives an overview of their purposes, intended users and features.

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