Sissel Waage, Director, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, BSR

Is your company measuring its impacts and dependencies on ecosystem services? If not, will there be requests for disclosure on this information in the coming years? The answer to this second question is a quiet but growing “yes.”

Today, increasing numbers of investors, corporate-ranking entities, and other stakeholders are asking companies for information about corporate impacts and dependencies on ecosystem services. As corporate decision-makers survey this emerging domain and decide how to respond, the question shifts to what indicators and tools should be used for measurement and management of ecosystem services impacts and dependencies.

BSR’s new report, published today, offers a unique view of the full suite of current tools. It also suggests areas of corporate application and summarizes the challenges that private-sector representatives reported during interviews in 2011 and 2012. Finally, the report lays out a few pathways forward that could accelerate private sector pilot testing as well as the process of verifying and validating ecosystem services tools.

Overall, this report depicts an emerging tool domain: The tools available today may (or may not) be those that companies will be applying several years from now. History is still being written.

For corporate decision-makers, the lesson is that ecosystem services issues are increasingly recognized as being important to key stakeholders. The challenge now is identifying, testing, and generating widespread support for a robust yet feasible way to integrate ecosystem services into corporate decision-making processes. The opportunity for the private sector is to engage—with the concepts, with new tools, with pilot testing, and with forging a path forward.