Why an Ecosystem Services Approach is Important for Businesses

The concepts of ecosystem services and conservation markets are becoming more and more popular among the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGO). Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) is a great example of an NGO working with farmers to produce ecosystem services by paying for best management practices. Businesses are starting to understand how balancing economic with environmental objectives and can be beneficial not only for the environment that they depend upon, but for the new business opportunities it can open up.

Here are a just few reasons why adopting ecosystem service measurements and conservation markets could be important for your business:

Sustainable Development

Many businesses in Alberta are in some way dependent on our earth’s natural resources, so implementing practices that ensure these resources are being managed effectively is important for the sustainability of both the environment and the business.  Ecosystem service measurements can help a business understand its impact on the surrounding environment and conservation markets can provide a way for a business to offset its actions, therefore contributing to a healthy planet for future generations.

Social License to Operate

Maintaining social license is important for businesses as it builds trust among the community within which it operates. Incorporating ecosystem service metrics into business planning can help to demonstrate a company’s operational responsibility by contributing to achieving desired environmental outcomes. Balancing these economic and environmental goals can increase a business’ social license to operate.

Business Innovation

Conservation markets are an innovative business approach that can create new revenue opportunities. For example, agricultural producers can sell improved water quality, providing them with another income stream. Other opportunities include new business services such as aggregators with expertise to assess the supply of ecosystem services, or verifiers that confirm there is an environmental asset to be bought or sold, or entrepreneurs that develop new products from biomass.

Learn more about the projects EcoServices Network to help support the adoption of conservation markets.