PepsiCo and Wal-Mart Attempt to Value the Amazon

Lush Amazon Rainforest and Tributary
Aerial shot of the rainforest of Brazil. Photographer: Gyro Photography

By Avery Fellow

PepsiCo and Wal-mart have entered into a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development and several nonprofit groups to protect Brazil's Amazon rain forest and other ecosystems.

The companies will conduct an ecosystem review to identify ways to profit while protecting or restoring ecosystems and biodiversity.

The companies entered into the Brazilian Business and Ecosystem Services Partnership May 18. They partnered with the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Center for Sustainability Studies of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, and the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development as well as USAID.

The organizations will help partner companies to incorporate ecosystem services in their business practices. "Ecosystem services" is a term for considering the impact on ecosystems and the services they provide when making business decisions. The idea is to assign value to elements of an ecosystem such as clean water, forest products, crops, and recreation that are not traditionally included when assessing business risk.

The companies have agreed to conduct an ecosystem analysis over the next 12 to 14 months. They will use a Corporate Ecosystem Services Review method developed by WRI and two other organizations designed to help companies identify ways to manage business risks and be profitable while protecting or restoring ecosystems.

About 300 companies have conducted ecosystem reviews using WRI's method. One review conducted by Mondi, a pulp and paper company based in London, resulted in a program to remove invasive plant species near forests used for its operations. The program increased the company's freshwater supplies, reduced its fuel costs, and improved its relationships with local communities, according to WRI.

Other companies in the partnership include the London-based mining company Anglo American, Brazilian soybean producer Grupo Maggi, Brazilian mining company Vale, and the Brazilian steel, pulp and paper, and energy company Votorantim.

Fellow covers corporate sustainability and adaptation initiatives, green buildings, and international climate change issues for Bloomberg BNA's World Climate Change Report.

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-0- May/23/2012 17:00 GMT
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