The newly formed Parceria Empresarial pelos Serviços Ecossistêmicos, or Brazilian Business and Ecosystem Services Partnership, is an initiative to show how biodiversity and ecosystem services – the benefits that people and companies derive from ecosystems – can enhance corporate performance in Brazil, home of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) next month.
The Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Center for Sustainability Studies at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, and the World Resources Institute, with support from the US Agency for International Development, organized the partnership.
Companies rely on food protection, clean water, a stable climate and protection from natural hazards, according to Craig Hanson, director of the People and Ecosystems Program at WRI, and the partnership aims to help Brazilian companies manage business risks arising from their dependence on ecosystems.
Partner companies will use the Corporate Ecosystem Services Review, an assessment methodology developed by WRI in cooperation with the World Business Council on Sustainable Development and the Meridian Institute, to develop business strategies that protect and restore the environment.
WRI estimates 300 companies worldwide have implemented the ESR since 2008.
In 2011, the Global Reporting Initiative developed metrics by which companies can monitor their pressures on ecosystems. GRI’s Approach for Reporting on Ecosystem Services looks at emerging thinking around ecosystem services.
A study released earlier this year of more than 2,800 corporate leaders found 31 percent of companies said sustainability contributes to their profits, while 70 percent placed sustainability permanently on the management agenda. The study, sponsored by SAP and Shell, said Wal-Mart is among the companies investing time and money in sustainability strategy and practices.