Environmental markets' news & resources: species, wetlands, habitat and biodiversity.
From May 2013, Madsen Environmental has handed over these reins. I'll continue the focus and trends of Nature+Economics here, and post on similar themes. Follow, suggest a Scoop, and offer advice and feedback as I curate
Yikes. MIMES (U VT Gund Instit ecosystem services valuation tool) tries to explain itself with ecological pathways something er other to people who might not be ecological experts. I'm exhausted just looking at it and I still don't know what MIMES is or can do.
Launched in 1999, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes are the first global indexes tracking the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide.
Photo at left: example of environmental criteria for three sectors and weightings.
MJP EcoArchives's insight:
YES, the DJSI asks companies in the forestry & paper sector explicitly about ecosystem services in one question within the eonomic dimension. of the FORESTRY sector (see 2012 yearbook, p. 82: http://www.sustainability-index.com/images/sam-yearbook-2012-final_tcm1071-337504.pdf). I have email communication with SAM to confirm this, but SAM does not make their quesitonnaires public. That does not mean that SAM does not indirectly query corporation action related to ecosystem services in other sectors, nor does it mean that they may not highlight ecosystem services in the future--questions are continually reviewed and revised. A SAM representative also expressed that not including a question abotu a topic area did not mean that SAM thinks it irrelevant, but rather that "other questions may be financially more material."
The Business and Biodiversity Campaign nicely summarizes the inclusion of biodiversity and ecosystem service criteria in the DJSI thus: "The Corporate Sustainability Assessment, conducted by SAM, also focuses on biodiversity issues which play a role in determining the ecological performance in certain industries - from the extractive and constructive sector to water, energy or real-estate. Ecosystem services are only mentioned in conjunction with the economic performance of the forestry and pulp sector but are implicitly anchored in the ecological analyses of the different sectors." (source: http://www.sustainability-index.com/images/sam-yearbook-2012-final_tcm1071-337504.pdf)
Here is an excerpt from info on the methodology of the DJSI index ranking.
"Since 1999, SAM has been conducting the annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), which serves as the framework for measuring corporate sustainability performance and forms the research backbone for the construction of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) • The world’s largest 2,500 publicly traded companies are invited to participate in SAM’s CSA for possible inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) • 58 industries are analyzed using industry-specific questionnaires • Companies are evaluated based on a range of financially relevant sustainability criteria covering the economic, environmental and social dimensions • Companies receive a Total Sustainability Score between 0–100 and are ranked against other companies in their industry • The top 10% of companies within each industry are selected for inclusion in the DJSI World • The DJSI identify sustainability leaders across all industries, enabling investors to track their performance and integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios"
Within each dimension (the environment dimension is one of the three), there are an "average 6–10 criteria, and each criterion can contain between 2–10 questions, totaling approximately 80–120 questions, depending on the sector. Each criterion is worth up to 100 points, and is assigned a weight (percentage) of the total questionnaire. The criteria within each
dimension roll up to the dimension weight. For each company, a Total Sustainability Score of up to 100 points is calculated based on the pre-defined weights established for each question and criterion."
The guy is really interesting. He wrote a book: Prayer, Profit and Principles with Benedictine monk, Anselm Grün. And he seems really committed to accounting for nature:“The primary purpose of an Environmental Profit and Loss is to show managers and stakeholders where in an operation and its supply chain these impacts occur and their magnitude.”
NatureServe Vista is spatial Decision Support System (DSS) software that supports a broad variety of cumulative impact, mitigation, and planning applications such as: conservation, open space, and green infrastructure planning; land use,...
Only applies to "the largest publicly-traded companies in America (the U.S. 500 list) and the largest publicly-traded companies based in developed and emerging markets worldwide (the Global 500 list)." Newsweek in partnership with Trucost, Sustainalytics.
Impact measured by Trucost, who takes things like GHG, air pollution, water use, waste, land and water poll, natural resource use (700 types of impacts) and translates them to $-value env impact cost per company (eg. add up $/ton GHG emiss ... and these $ values come from externality costs in aca lit), normalized by revenue so there's not size bias. With this first step they don't use actual reported GHG/water/whatever data to derive the impact... they use info like financial info, look at co activities... and then put this data into their input-output model which then spits out GHG emiss, air emiss, water use... [model is based on...? info from X bunch of companies in Y bunch of sectors?]. But then, they somehow adjust IF company provides real data. And finally, give chance for company to review/verify (& Trucost will accept if comprehensive/consistent). What env impacts are most important? GHG and water use accounts for ~75% of score for most sectors. Some sectors will have high impacts (eg. utilities) so will probably never rank high on overall rankings, but have opp to see rankings within the sector, so there's that kind of benchmarking.
It wasn't too hard for the Fish and Wildlife Service to decide the fate of 92 freshwater snails, or 17 dragonflies, or indeed more than 500 species over the past year. But when it comes to the dunes sagebrush lizard, trouble looms.
The RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) and Tesco (one of the world's top five global retailers) have announced a ground-breaking partnership called ‘Together For Trees’ to help protect rainforests around the world.
Here's a lovely little gem video that features CEOs talking about why it’s not just a good thing, but good for business to account for nature. So there you go, business paying for ecosystem services because it would be foolish not to. Great message.
The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) recently held their annual Forum at St. James Palace on 15 December 2011. The following images were designed by Information is Beautiful and launched at the event to demonstrate the Economic Invisibility of Nature.