Business outlines a Smarter, More Sustainable Water Management Approach

A changing climate with more frequent extreme weather events requires today’s businesses to plan for an unpredictable and inconsistent water supply via more sophisticated water management practices, according to a new report released on April 15th by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The report, Sharing Water: Engaging Business, emphasizes the crucial role of business in ensuring responsible management of water resources and encourages greater collaboration across sectors. The report finds that leading companies have begun shifting their perspective beyond merely managing operational water use to becoming more conscious of how corporate actions impact local and regional water resources and, conversely, how water resources and watersheds impact business.

The US BCSD’s Louisiana Water Synergy Project is featured as an example of community and stakeholder engagement in the New Orleans to Baton Rouge Mississippi River Corridor.

“Increasing global demand and the impacts of climate change are placing unprecedented strain on freshwater resources,” said WBCSD President Peter Bakker. “In order to ensure a viable business future, companies are calling for collective management and collaboration at the watershed level to ensure continued access to water supplies among competing demands.”

Visit the WBCSD’s website for more information.

Making One Company’s Waste Another Company’s Raw Materials

Making one company’s waste another company’s raw material has long been one of the most intriguing notions in industrial ecology. This strategy known as industrial symbiosis — by analogy to the manner in which some species in nature cooperate to mutual advantage — came to public attention in the early 1990s. An industrial district in Denmark with a dense web of resource sharing and by-product exchanges was discovered. Efforts to replicate the Danish example led to a search for other examples and strategies to create such industrial networks. Twenty years later, numerous examples have been documented and countries from China and Korea to the UK have embarked on programs to establish or facilitate industrial by-product exchange. A special issue of Yale’s Journal of Industrial Ecology highlights research that moves beyond case studies to couple empirical research with theory-building.

To complement the special issue, a selection of previously published articles on industrial symbiosis has been compiled at

The Journal of Industrial Ecology is a peer-reviewed, international bimonthly journal that examines the relationship between industry and the environment from the perspective of the growing field of industrial ecology. It is owned by Yale, headquartered at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and published by Wiley-Blackwell.

And visit to learn about the US BCSD’s industrial ecology work.

Rio+20 and beyond: Business solutions for a sustainable world

In anticipation of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June, the WBCSD has published this brochure focusing on the progress made over the past two decades and the priorities in moving forward. In doing so, it highlights the global context, the role of business in that context, and provides snapshots of activities undertaken by both the WBCSD and the Regional Network across the world in response to prevailing challenges and opportunities.

The first two sections describe the journey of WBCSD and its Regional Network since the first Rio Conference in 1992. They outline the transition from early efforts to raise awareness and develop the business case for sustainable development, to more recent efforts to promote action on the ground and engage in advocacy activities.

The third section lays out joint WBCSD and Regional Network efforts to accelerate change toward a sustainable future, in line with goals outlined in the Council’s Vision 2050 and the respective local adaptations. A number of these topics will carry over into our joint US BCSD and WBCSD-US Spring Meeting on June 27-28, 2012.

Click here to download the brochure.

US BCSD Helps Launch Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) recently released the Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV), an innovative framework designed to enhance business understanding of the benefits and value of ecosystem services like fresh water, food, fiber and natural hazard protection.

“This guide provides companies with an effective tool to begin quantifying opportunities and risks associated with their operations and ecosystem services.” Andrew Mangan, US BCSD

This first-of-its-kind framework will enable businesses to better understand the actual benefits and value of the ecosystem services we impact and depend on. This will support improved business decision-making by creating more alignment between the financial, ecological and societal objectives of your company.

“Biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation are continuing to escalate, thereby putting business at risk, but if managed properly, can be transformed into new opportunities,” said Björn Stigson, President of the WBCSD. “CEV allows business to fully recognize and value ecosystems and the services they deliver.”

The WBCSD selected 16 projects to participate in a “Road Test” review of the guide and the US BCSD actively led two projects with its member companies: The Greater Houston By-Product Synergy project and the Cook Composites and Polymers (CCP) Ecological Stormwater Management Project.

The US BCSD partnered with the Center for Resilience at The Ohio State University to utilize Eco-LCA, a streamlined Ecological Life Cycle Assessment tool, to measure the benefits associated with resource conservation from BPS in Houston and ecosystem restoration and through ecological stormwater management with CCP.

The Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV) was unveiled April 8, 2011 at a launch event in Geneva, Switzerland. For a full copy of the Guide please click here.

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