Business alliance urges companies to adjust to ecosystems

Report warns that business models need to be transformed to avoid significant future losses incurred by environmental degradation.

Unless business reduces its ‘operational footprint’, major economic losses are forecasted due to scarcity of raw materials, higher operating costs, government restrictions and reduced flexibility, warns the World Business Council on Sustainable Development in a report on 21 November.

The report, Ecosystem Challenges and Business Implications, was drawn up in collaboration with the Earthwatch Institute, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the World Resources Institute (WRI). 

WBCSD President Björn Stigson said: “Business simply cannot function if ecosystems and the services they deliver – like water, biodiversity, food, fiber and climate regulation – are degraded or out of balance. There must be a value attached to natural resources, and businesses need to start understanding this value.”

In a 2006 biodiversity action plan, the EU Commission supported the idea of placing a price tag on the economic benefits of “ecosystem goods and services”, which it values at around €26 trillion per year globally. However, environmental groups have criticised the Commission for being to slow to implement the plan.

In a recent development, the EU fisheries Council’s (21/11/06) decision to impose limited quotas on deep-sea fisheries and allow driftnets back in the Mediterranean Sea, was met with dismay from environmental groups.

Monica Verbeek, of the NGO Seas At Risk, said “The scientists are clear that these fisheries should be closed. It is shocking that the Fisheries Council’s only response is to fall into their annual habit of disregarding scientific advice and appeasing those countries that profit most from over-fishing.”

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