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Ecosystem Degradation Will Affect the Future Business Climate

March 2008 - Green

A set of guidelines designed to help companies proactively develop strategies to manage risks and opportunities arising from ecosystem degradation has been launched. Ecosystem degradation is the next phase in addressing climate change, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The guidelines were developed by the World Resources Institute in collaboration with the Meridian Institute and the WBCSD. Five WBCSD members "road-tested" the methodology and provided input to its design.

Some road-testers, such as Mondi and BC Hydro, used the guidelines to gain insight into the direct implications that ecosystem trends pose for them. Other road-testers, such as Akzo Nobel and Syngenta, applied the methodology to understand the risks faced by a segment of their customers due to ecosystem degradation and, in turn, discovered opportunities for new products or services that address these risks. The guidelines profile these and other road-test experiences.

Mondi’s newfound strategies include a number of operational changes that will increase the company’s efficiency in using freshwater, a scarce ecosystem service, and lead to new markets for the company’s byproducts, WBCSD says.

According to the WBCSD, the guidelines can also help companies anticipate new markets and government policies that may emerge in response to ecosystem degradation, and strengthen corporate environmental impact assessments by adding considerations traditional methods may overlook.


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