Day 8: Ecosystem services and business

17TH AUGUST, 2018.
First thing in the morning we had a lecture by Mika Rekola about the valuation of ecosystem services. This lecture was a bit different as we split the class into two groups and instead of just listening to the lecturer we were discussing many of the presented issues in our group. We were discussing how and why we measure economic values of ecosystem services in the first place, and it seemed everyone had their own opinions about this. Ironically no one mentioned the things that were the focus of this lecture,
such as how avoid market failure and how taxation policies are formed. This lecture was indeed almost solely focused on economics, so it was a big shift from the previous lectures and there were a lot of new terms for us.

Next up we had a lecture about natural capital evaluation by Asko Siintola who works for Indufor, a consulting company that focuses on the forest industry. Again, this was a lecture about economics so there were quite a few terms that were unfamiliar to us. He explained the process for creating a natural capital protocol framework; how businesses can identify, measure and value their impacts and dependencies on natural capital. He presented two different cases: One was a tea company in Rwanda that wished to increase its yield, this required a very detailed analysis that valuated everything from soil stability and water supply to the supply of fuelwood for the factory. The other case was a tourist resort in the Philippines, where a lot of the resort was built on a protected area. There was shown to have been such a strong degradation of the coastal environment in these areas that some popular tourist areas such as Boracay Island actually had to be shut down because of overtourism!

– Klaus Blomster

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