In this section we highlight key developments in the project, emerging initiatives, key publications and upcoming events.
Update from the Initiative
In October 2009, the first phase of the Natural Value Initiative’s project came to an end with the completion and launch of the Ecosystem Services Benchmark and its companion report, Linking Shareholder and Natural Value, an evaluation of approaches to managing biodiversity and ecosystem services impacts and dependencies.
Launch of the Ecosystem Services Benchmark
The Natural Value Initiative launched the Ecosystem Services Benchmark at an exciting session at the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative Roundtable in Cape Town on October 22nd. The benchmark is the first investor-focused tool to have been developed specifically to enable institutional investors to understand the impacts and dependency of their investments on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
The benchmark is now available for download and use by investors and their advisors.
- Guidance on how to use the Ecosystem Services Benchmark can be obtained here
- A short overview of the Ecosystem Services Benchmark and its value can be obtained here
- Copies of the Ecosystem Services Benchmark itself can be obtained here
Perspectives from an investor that has been involved in the development and trial of the tool:
Recent pressures on natural resources suggest that in future ecosystem services will start to command a premium, or worse, become unavailable. This could have a profound impact on the strategies and valuations of companies in high-risk sectors. The Ecosystem Services Benchmark will help us to identify which companies understand and manage those risks - and which companies are in danger of losing out.
Karina Litvack, Head of Governance and Sustainable Investment, F&C Investments
A review of approaches to managing biodiversity and ecosystem services risk and opportunity in the food, beverage and tobacco sectors
We piloted the Ecosystem Services Benchmark by using it to evaluate 31 multinational and Brazilian companies in the food, beverage and tobacco industries. The benchmark is designed to enable investors to assess the level of risk of investing in companies that rely heavily on certain ecosystem services.
It is the first comprehensive analysis of how companies within the food, beverage and tobacco sectors are addressing business challenges relating their impacts and dependence on ecosystem services. Such services (which include healthy soils, pollination and water) are vital for companies with agricultural supply chains. These sectors are amongst those that are most dependent on ecosystem services, but also have the potential to have a significant impact on biodiversity.
Linking shareholder and natural value - executive summary
Linking shareholder and natural value - full report
Each company participating in the pilot of the Ecosystem Services Benchmark has received a summary of their results with suggestions for further action. These results are being used by our partner investors as part of their ongoing engagement process with the companies in which they have investments. The benchmark will allow investors to suggest specific steps that each company may take to be confident that it is operating according to best practice and managing its risk exposure. The Natural Value Initiative will support our collaborating investors in this work.
The NVI will repeat and extend its evaluation of the food, beverage and tobacco sector in 2010-11 using the Ecosystem Services benchmark to track progress and profile new best practices and areas for action. We will work with our peers and private sector collaborators to provide better guidance and drive action in the following areas:
More fundamentally we will be working to create a clear link between shareholder value and ecosystem services. We invite investors to join us in this work and encourage them to integrate the key elements of the Ecosystem Services Benchmark into their decision-making processes.
- Risk and opportunity assessment
- Disclosures and metrics for performance
- Determining coverage of existing assurance schemes of biodiversity and ecosystem services
- Supply chain management tools