In a recent TEEB for business newsletter, I came across a new report that is essentially a proposal for a "Nature Resilience" project to bring business to ecosystem restoration partnerships. The project is supported by Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University, NL) and IUCN (Commission on Ecosystem Management).
After some introductory chapters on biodiversity and ecosystem services value/value to companies, the report discusses a way forward. The core of which is envisioned as business understanding their impact on ecosystem services by valuing it. The "way forward" also includes support of international standards for ecosystem valuation and getting requirements for corporations to publish their impacts as a disclosure item (a la PUMA's environmental profit and loss statement). And along with that strong stick would be soft carrots - training corporations on valuing ecosystem services (a la WBCSD's business ecosystems training), and getting the next generation on board by incorporating ecosystem value in B-school training.
I agree with this vision of a way forward, particularly that some requirement to disclose (in a standard way) impact on ecosystem services would be a driver for business to finance in ecosystem restoration. I don't agree quite as strongly with the report's assessment that barriers for business participation in ecosystem restoration "range from a lack of networking across groups, to differences in the use of language and a lack of trust. Clearly, greater involvement from the private sector requires us to remove the barriers that exist between local commuities, NGOs, farmers, businesses, business schools, ecologists, economists and policy-makers." I think a step that is more pressing is having drivers for a clear and pressing business case for action. Once the catalyst is in place, then yes breaking these barriers could create more efficient, or more community-oriented, or larger-scale ecosystem restoration. But I don't know if we're there yet.
The remainder of the report dives into the proposed solution - the "Nature Resilience" project. The project creates a partnership-broker entity to bring together business with other organizations in creating long-term (~20-yr) ecosystem restoration projects.
"Nature Resilience will help to facilitate the mobilisation and redirection of investment funds and business participation by acting as a broker or match maker between businesses (investors and individuals), governments, NGOs, communities, farmers and local civil society organisations (CSOs) working in the field of restoration and conservation. Nature Resilience will actively seek the creation of Ecosystem Restoration Partnerships. Nature Resilience will be a neutral and independent agency that brings together existing networks of businesses and business schools, scientific institutions, governments and local development partners. It will be empowered, endorsed and financed by committed private sector institutions as well as business schools and student communities."
I didn't see any mention in the report of tying the project idea to compensation from projects financed by the IFC or Equator Banks - which require screening for, and mitigation to impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services in projects that they fund. Perhaps that would be a good test case for the project.