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New research paper on reporting the impacts and reliance on 'ecosystem services'

Oct 14, 2011

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has released a research report entitled 'Approach for reporting on ecosystem services — Incorporating ecosystem services into an organization's performance disclosure'.

'Ecosystem services' (ES) is a term used to capture the benefits derived from ecosystems, such as food, pharmaceutical products, timber, soil fertility, pollination, and freshwater.

In cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and consultancy CREM, GRI proposes a new approach for developing sustainability reporting indicators to help companies report their impacts and reliance on ecosystem services.

The research publication elaborates on what ecosystem services are, and in which ways organisations interact with them and how to factor ecosystem services into their long term strategy and operations. The publication suggests indicators that organisations could use to assess and report their impacts on ecosystem services, discussing both narrative reporting and performance reporting.

The publication builds on related initiatives around 'natural capital' such as The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity study (TEEB), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV) Guide and The University of Cambridge Natural Capital Leaders Platform report (issued in June 2011). The GRI publication represents a move towards incorporating ecosystem services information into sustainability reporting and ultimately integrated reporting.

Click for GRI press release (link to GRI website).