Business section

Guests at the Climate Business Action Day roundtable financial sector & Climate change ... / ©: WWF-Canon / Richard Stonehouse
Finding creative and equitable business arrangements is not a new concept, and companies that have already embraced corporate social and environmental responsibility are well positioned to take advantage of the business opportunities.
© WWF-Canon / Richard Stonehouse
Why should businesses care?
Many companies rely on natural resources, and securing the flow of ecosystem services may be directly related to their business’s bottom line. Water companies need functioning ecosystems to maintain water quality. Tourism companies want to preserve the landscapes and wildlife that attract their clients. Other businesses have a considerable environmental impact or produce significant harmful emissions; they may find that paying to increase the flow of ecosystem services (e.g. carbon offsets or biodiversity offsets) is an economical way to neutralize their footprint. Insurance companies and coastal area developers may find that increasing the provision of ecosystem services is the cheapest way to reduce the risk of natural hazard.

However, caring for the environment and paying for environmental services is not the sole responsibility of the private sector. Governments, communities, and NGOs share the burden of protecting the environment. Governments must work out the rules of the game, prime the pump, and in many cases be the direct procurers of some ecosystem services (public goods). Community and conservation NGOs must ensure that ecosystem services and PES schemes are pursued with equity—balancing the interests of people and nature—to increase job and income opportunities for the rural poor and deliver real, on-the-ground conservation.

Finding creative and equitable business arrangements is not a new concept, and companies that have already embraced corporate social and environmental responsibility are well positioned to take advantage of the business opportunities.

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