The understanding of an ecosystem is of paramount importance, more so in the process of defining the inter-linkages that exist between businesses and nature. This paper traces its foundation from the definitions that have been attributed to the phrase “ecosystem services.”
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It is from this definition that the study will take off in demystifying the interrelation that exists between the forest industry and businesses. It is of essence that the study identifies the benefits that businesses’ derive from the ecosystem. Consequently, this will set the base from which the reader will identify the effects that the removal of the ecosystem services will have on the business environment.
Definition of ecosystem services
The human race is surrounded by communities of animals in their living habitats and plants all round. It is from this surrounding that the continuity of the human race is sustained. These resources that are supplied by nature benefit humans and some are the concrete bases of some of the world’s leading economies.
For instance, the middle-east countries such as Kuwait are fully dependent on crude oil as the major contributor of the country’s gross domestic product. These benefits that humans reap from ecosystem are referred to as ecosystem services (Hester & Harrison, 2010).
The constituents of the ecosystem include the physical and the chemical elements for example; water, soil, nutrients that are assimilated in the bodies of the animals among other elements. It should be noted that this constituents are either large or microscopic elements that exist naturally.
Dependence of the Corporate World on the Ecosystem Services
According to Esty & Winston (2009), all corporates in the planet regardless of their area of operation depend on biodiversity that is presented by the world’s ecosystems and on ecosystem services. For instance, fresh water is a very crucial input product in almost all the conceivable processes of manufacturing well as service industries.
One direct link of ecosystem services and businesses can be found in the pharmaceutical industries that benefits from plant products such as the neem plant among other plants that are used in the manufacture of drugs, the agribusiness industry that depends on insects to aid in the pollination of flowers, bio-pest control among many others.
It is evident that organizations depend directly or indirectly on the ecosystem services. This dependency always takes a two-fold relationship. One is the direct dependency of the organization in undertaking the core operations and the indirect dependency of corporates on ecosystem services in supply chains and in the investment choices of the organization (Esty & Winston, 2009).
In order to ensure that the study does not digress a lot on the inter-dependence that exists between the ecosystem services and the corporate world, the study will concentrate on the dependency of the forest, construction and publishing industries on the ecosystem services that these industries are provided with by the ecosystem.
Forests are important resources in the world as they provide invaluable economic, environment and social benefits. It is evident that forests act as a buffer to global warming that has jeopardized the livelihoods of many people (Bond & Wertz-Kanounnikoff, 2009).These are a few of the social benefits that are reaped from forest resources.
It should be noted that a good number of the world businesses depend solely on forest products such as timber, medicinal products among others. It is evident that every year the forest industry contributes over $186 billion in the world’s economy. This money is derived only from the primary products of the forests. This means that the forest industry is a key source of revenue for many businesses (Nemetz, 2002).
All businesses in the planet directly or indirectly depend on forests and the dependency comes in terms of furniture, papers and to others the forest products are their raw materials. For example, truck drivers who are mandated to carrying logs are directly dependent on the products from the forests.
The trucks that are used in the transportation are specifically designed to transport logs and therefore, the manufacturers of these trucks depend indirectly on the forest industry. This is because the eradication of forests would mean that these truck manufacturers would have to close the log-haul aging facet of their industry.
Other stakeholders who depend directly on forest industry are paper manufacturers and timber dependent industries such as the carpentry. Paper manufacturers depend on trees which are turned into papers that are used in the everyday running of the offices.
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This gives rise to the dual dependence of the corporate world on the forest industry such that the paper manufacturers depend directly on the trees to manufacture papers and other industries use the papers that are manufactured from trees. Therefore, in case these forests are eradicated both the manufacturers and the end users would adversely be affected (Bond & Wertz-Kanounnikoff, 2009).
The effective and efficient running of the forest industry incorporates four relevant stakeholders. These stakeholders have either a direct or an indirect link to the industry. First, is the phenomenon growth in the forest industry. These are the businesses that are involved with growing and management of forests resources. These businesses are mandated with ensuring that forest plantations are developed.
Secondly, is the forest industry service provision sector. Services that are provided in the forest industry are of specialized manner. They include businesses that are involved with the harvesting of the forest products; those involved in the haulage of the products such as trucks drivers, the silvicultural activity officers, and the nurseries among others. Thirdly, are businesses involved in the processing of the forest products.
This sector is involved in the transformation of the forest raw materials into finished products after undergoing a number of processes that are meant to change the initial form of the product. For instance; logs into rough timber that is then transformed into wood chips and then pulp. The last stage of the forestry industry is the transformation of the forest products into finished products that are now ready for use by the end user.
It involves businesses like carpentry which transforms the timber into furniture and pulp into paper. The world requires furniture and all these products are made from timber a direct product of the forest industry.
All people who are involved with the manufacture of timber products have a direct link to the forest. This proves that businesses and ecosystems are intertwined and each depends on the other for continued existence (Nemetz, 2002).
Shortcoming of Eliminating the Ecosystem Services to the Business World
The removal of the forest industry would have dire consequences to the businesses world. For instance, in 2007 losses that were incurred due to deforestation alone amounted to more than $4.5 trillion and this amount is expected to escalate over the years.
These losses will be incurred if the businesses would be fatal as industrialization in the globe has taken a toll over forests which are the vital sources of renewable and non-renewable factory inputs (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2011).
It is evident that ecosystem services are fundamental in the lives of corporate in the world as the study has sort to illustrate the dependence that exists between corporate world and the forest world.
Therefore, it is paramount that corporate come up with measures that are meant to put priorities right in valuation of how dependent corporate are on the forest industry and as a result, take the leading role of ensuring that the forests are not degraded as a result of human activities.
Bond, I.,G., M. & Wertz-Kanounnikoff, S. (2009).Incentives to sustain forest ecosystem services. New York: Cage
Esty ,D. & Winston, H., S. (2009).Green to Gold. New York: Yale University Press.
Hester, R.,E. & Harrison, R., M. (2010). Ecosystem services.Upper Saddle River: Cengage.
Nemetz ,P., N.(2002). Bringing business on board: sustainable development and the B-school curriculum. Journal of Business Administration Series.. 27(29).
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2011). Paying for Biodiversity: Enhancing the Cost-Effectiveness of Payments for Ecosystem Services .New York: OECD Publishing