Category Archives: Guidance > Business & Industry

The Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity in Ontario (TEEBO) 2018 update

This report aims to inform Ontarians about key economic issues involving ecosystem services and biodiversity in Ontario. These are considered together because their economic issues are similar. This follows the practice of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), of which Canada is a member.

This report updates an earlier 2012 report with the same title (Miller & Lloyd-Smith, 2012). The present report includes new information and sources, removes some outdated material, and adjusts the amount and ordering of some content.

Many professions and sectors of the marketplace are taking an interest in this subject. Businesses and investors are improving the ways that they measure and manage their interactions with ecosystems, with the aid of accounting professionals. Professional planners, engineers, and infrastructure specialists are improving their conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, and the use of green infrastructure. Public health professionals are discovering how human health is dependent upon the health of biodiverse ecosystems. Ecological economists and other economists are working to recalibrate economic signals and policies for the sustenance of life on Earth.

Market prices fail to reflect the full economic value of nature. A solution is for economists to generate non-market values, using specific valuation techniques that quantify the importance of changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services. The resulting information helps to make land-use decisions more effective, balance sheets more complete, and economic accounts more comprehensive. All of this enhances efficiency and sustainability, especially when used with economic instruments. Economic instruments aim to more closely align economic self-interest with shared interests in the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Several instruments are available, including ones that affect information, prices, quantities, and legal liabilities, and behaviour.

Fortunately non-market values and economic instruments are increasingly prevalent in Ontario. This is helping several policies and practices that mandate their consideration.

Combatting Canada’s Rising Flood Costs: Natural infrastructure is an underutilized option

This report demonstrates how to quantify the benefits and costs of natural infrastructure as a strong complement or a viable alternative to grey infrastructure option for flood mitigation.

Natural infrastructure can be a cost-effective way to mitigate material financial losses that would otherwise result from flooding Moreover, natural infrastructure can offer other valuable environmental and social benefits that are often not attainable through the implementation of traditional, grey-engineered solutions.

A thorough cost-benefit analysis should measure all infrastructure options through a common cost-benefit lens. For example, although naturally occurring ponds provide stormwater storage capacity, which helps attenuate flooding, they also create habitat for aquatic species, improve biodiversity and provide aesthetic benefits to the community. These additional benefits are not available through a grey infrastructure solution, such as a stormwater storage tank, and this needs to be reflected in a cost-benefit analysis.

A comprehensive assessment of the financial, environmental and social costs and benefits (i.e., a total economic value [TEV] assessment) is required to illuminate these otherwise uncaptured benefits. Canada will continue to experience loss and degradation of its natural infrastructure assets if it does not start to apply a robust TEV assessment for natural versus grey infrastructure solutions.

To assist governments, practitioners and investors with land-use planning and infrastructure investment decisions, this report includes a framework for natural infrastructure project implementation

Recognition Prohibitions and Urban Forests

Sections PS 1000, PS 1201: Recognition Prohibitions and Urban Forests

A summary of a discussion by the Public Sector Accounting Group (of the Public Sector Accounting Board – PSB) on the barriers and opportunities of treating urban trees and forests as municipal assets. (starts on page 15)

Ecosystem Services Toolkit: Completing and Using Ecosystem Service Assessment for Decision-Making – An Interdisciplinary Toolkit for Managers and Analysts

The Ecosystem Services Toolkit is a technical guide to ecosystem services assessment and analysis that offers practical, step-by-step guidance for governments at all levels, as well as for consultants and researchers. The approach is fully interdisciplinary, integrating biophysical sciences, social sciences, economics, and traditional and practitioner knowledge. It provides guidance on how to consider and incorporate ecosystem services analysis in a variety of different policy contexts such as spatial planning, environmental assessment, and wildlife management, among others. It contains numerous innovative tools and resources designed to enhance users’ understanding of ecosystem services and to support analysis and decision-making. Canadian examples are featured throughout the guide.

Ontario’s Five Year Climate Change Action Plan (2016-2020)

This plan describes the actions we will take over the next five years to fight climate change: to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and help move us to a prosperous low carbon economy. It recognizes the tremendous economic opportunities that exist for Ontario as the world seeks to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It ensures our businesses, innovators and researchers are well positioned to develop the clean technologies and low-carbon solutions that will ensure competitiveness, maintain existing jobs and create new ones.

Assessment of Potential Biodiversity Market Partnerships in Ontario

Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) is a non-profit organization based in Ontario that manages the rehabilitation of ecological services in communities across Canada and participates in the Canadian voluntary compensation market. Due to the challenges of adopting Payments for Ecological Service, AMOVEO, a student organization at the University of Waterloo, partnered with ALUS in 2012 to examine the industries that could be potential target markets for ALUS’ ecological services program. Recommendations were also made to assist in developing ALUS’ operations and to provide assistance when targeting potential investors.

A Guide to Biodiversity Conservation

Document by the Canadian Business and Biodiversity Council

This Guide has been prepared to advise Canadian businesses of all sizes, and from all sectors, on how they can benefit from reducing the adverse effects of their operations on biodiversity, and participate in its conservation and sustainable management, regardless of whether they use biological resources directly or not.

Approach for reporting on ecosystem services: Incorporating ecosystem services into an organization’s performance disclosure

In cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and consultancy CREM, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has been assessing opportunities to translate emerging thinking around ES into sustainability reporting indicators and approaches that can be used as a starting point by organizations in all sectors.