Ecosystem services are moving higher up the corporate agenda, with a growing number of organisations now seeking to quantify the impacts their operational activities are having on the environment.
The internships will be based in either businesses or third sector organisations and are aimed at helping the host organisation can make use of scientific knowledge, data and valuation tools to understand and manage their impacts and/or dependencies on ecosystem services.
The objectives of the scheme are to:
- Initiate collaborations between academics and business or third sector organisation partners, leading to the application of ecosystem services approaches in longer term self-sustaining activities undertaken by partners
- Generate evidence and case studies of how businesses and other organisations have used or could use ecosystem services approaches, in collaboration with academics, to introduce innovation into their business.
- Provide evidence concerning the effectiveness of policies intended to facilitate the development of ecosystem services approaches by businesses and third sector organisations.
The focus of the projects must be a topic where ecosystem service approaches have potential to affect decision-making. Succesful projects will be required to identify clear examples of where ecosystem service approaches could be used to make a real difference to business decision-making and feed into business tools and processes, or into the way ecosystems are currently managed, identifying current gaps and potential future science needs.
The ecosystem services approach is focussed on the exploitation of new market opportunities generated by the Natural Environment White Paper and other changes in environmental policy at either national or European level (e.g. payment for ecosystem services, ecosystem restoration and biodiversity offsets)
Deliverables will include a case study at the end of the project of activities undertaken, the impact achieved, the learning from the project and any follow-up activity. Confidential matters will be respected but business partner organisations must be willing for the information to be disseminated. Delivery of the final report and case study will normally be expected by 31st March 2013.
The closing date for applications is 15th June 2012 at 5pm. NERC funding of up to £20,000 is available for each project.
Last week more international financial institutions, including Standard Chartered (UK), Nedbank (South Africa) and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, signed the Natural Capital Declaration in the run-up to Rio+20, bringing the number of endorsers to 20. The new endorsers join the CEOs of financial institutions from Australia, Ecuador, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Paraguay, the British Isles and the US.
The Declaration will be launched at Rio+20 in Brazil this June, is a statement by the financial sector committing to work towards integrating natural capital criteria into financial products and services. The Declaration also calls upon national governments to develop the policy framework needed to support and incentivise organisations – including financial institutions – to value and report on their use of natural capital, and work towards internalising environmental costs.