TEEB Reports Show the Value of Nature for Business

TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) is a major international initiative that aims to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, to highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and to draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions moving forward.  TEEB is a global study that was decided upon during the environment ministers meeting in Potsdam in which the G8 and five important developing economies participated in 2007. 
The TEEB Study is lead by Pavan Sukhdev, a currently exempted Director of the Deutsche Banks Global Markets Centre Mumbai. The expectation is that the TEEB study will have the same impact for biodiversity as the Stern Review for climate change: by calculating the costs of policy inaction the loss of biodiversity becomes tangible and actions to counter adverse effects or to seize opportunities are becoming clear.

The TEEB study comprises different reports that are published independently and that focus on different stakeholders. The ‘TEEB for Business’ report recognizes the important role that business and enterprise have in how we manage, safeguard and invest in our natural capital. The report provides practical guidance on the issues and the opportunities created by the inclusion in mainstream business practices of ecosystem- and biodiversity-related considerations. This report is for a wide array of enterprises, including those with direct impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity, such as mining, oil and gas and infrastructure; for those businesses that depend on healthy ecosystems and biodiversity for production, such as agriculture and fisheries; for industry sectors that finance and undergird economic activity and growth, like banks and asset managers, as well as insurance and business services; and for businesses that are selling ecosystem services or biodiversity-related products such as eco-tourism, eco-agriculture and bio-carbon.

It outlines the risks biodiversity loss poses to firms and indicates where opportunities exist. In an assessment done by Trucost for the United Nations backed Principles on Responsible Investing (UNPRI), it is estimated that the size of the externalities of the 3,000 biggest listed companies is estimated to be US$ 2.2 trillion per year. These costs are mainly generated by greenhouse gas emissions, overexploitation and water and air pollution. Biodiversity and ecosystem services account for a part of these costs, for instance in the form of water related impacts (water is a provisioning service).

The TEEB report provides a toolbox for action for companies to minimise these costs and to seize opportunities:

  1. Identify the impacts and dependencies of your business on biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES)
  2. Assess the business risks and opportunities associated with these impacts and dependencies
  3. Develop BES information systems, set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) targets, measure and value performance, and report your results
  4. Take action to avoid, minimise and mitigate BES risks, including in-kind compensation (‘offsets’) where appropriate
  5. Grasp emerging BES business opportunities, such as cost-efficiencies, new products and new markets
  6. Integrate business strategy and action on BES with wider corporate social responsibility initiatives
  7. Engage with business peers and stakeholders in government, NGOs and civil society to improve BES guidance and policy

Joshua Bishop, the TEEB for Business report coordinator and Chief Economist of IUCN, said: “Better accounting of business impacts on biodiversity – both positive and negative – is essential to spur change in business investment and operations. Smart business leaders realise that integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services in their value chains can generate substantial cost savings and new revenues, as well as improved business reputation and license to operate. “

Source: Based on the original article by Joost Bakker, GNF Bonn, via the European Business and Biodiversity Campaign

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One Response to “TEEB Reports Show the Value of Nature for Business”

  1. Delois October 3, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Very interesting details you have remarked, appreciate it for posting.

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