What, Why, How?
One Water Leadership Conference
Chief Sustainability Officer
The Challenges- WHAT?
“Ecosystem Services” is a widely used term- but
what does it really mean? Services provided by
Valuation- how to determine their worth?
Scope- What is all included?
Performance Assurance- how do you know you
Governance- who decides? Who controls?
Ecosystem Services- WHAT?
Storm water management
Carbon management/air quality
And many others!
Community infrastructure, not just stormwater
Ecosystem Services Valuation- WHAT?
The ecosystem is more than a passive victim
of our actions, it plays an active and important
So……. what is that worth?
Getting beyond the “warm and fuzzy” factor
What does it mean to value Ecosystem
•Valuing the benefits provided by ecosystem
•Valuing losses from ecosystem degradation
The Value Proposition- WHY?
Communities “use” the ecosystem
Opportunities to leverage the ecosystem-
Interest growing among stakeholders
Regulatory and legal requirements
Gives a “value-based lens”- quantifying
environmental, social, economic, and financial
elements- comparing alternatives
Can speak “CFO-ese” and “CEO-ese” (ROI, Risk
management, business case, and others)
Improves decision making- and that is good!
Why “hire” the ecosystem as a service
Incredibly efficient and
3.5 Billion years of
The Issue with Water
Water is “managed” by ecosystem
Water IS an ecosystem service
Price vs. Cost vs. Value
ESV needs to be able to recognize the this
true cost to make informed business
Crépieux-Charmy Ecosystem Valuation
A water supply catchment area near Lyon, France
The local ecosystem is not only a catchment area for
water supply but provides heritage value, carbon
sequestration, water purification,
Intent is for ecologic management of the area
What is it worth in terms of water supply?
•Natural filtration vs. water treatment
•Natural heritage value; including recreation and
Is it worth it?
•Yes! Maintaining the ecosystem is 16x less cost than
installed water treatment and 45x less cost than
alternatives to replace the economic benefit of carbon
sequestration and loss of heritage value 8
CCED Ecosystem Valuation
Group of municipalities with a new waste water
What is the additional value of this plant to the
ecosystem due to improved discharge quality?
•Tourism- nicer beaches
•Tourism- water recreation activities
•Reuse of wastewater
These are all in addition to the direct benefit of the
New Alberta Wetlands Policy
Recognizes that wetlands are valuable for
various reasons and that wetlands vary by the
ecosystem value, and should be governed
Allows for flexible wetlands management based
on relative ecosystem value
Values are assigned by category and prioritized
Protection and governance hierarchy established
based on valuation
The WBCSD Guide- HOW?
Why a guide now? ESV has been going for decades!
•Historically driven by legal and regulatory frameworks-
to assign liability and compensation
•Many techniques exist
•Complicated and variable vocabulary
A need for some consistency, transparency, rigor
Divided in into Screening Phase (Do I even need to do
this?) and the Methodology Phase- (How to?)
Was pilot tested by approximately 14 member entities;
including water services sector
Very useful to public sector as well