In 2011, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) initiated a collaborative effort to develop models that would help Dow and the wider business community identify and incorporate the value of nature into business decision making. As this collaboration progressed, it became clear that to advance or promote the valuation of ecosystem services across a large corporation such as Dow, a tool was needed to assess those services rapidly and cost-effectively. The tool should enable the company to identify and quantify the ecosystem services provided by a site and produce results that could easily be incorporated into existing company engineering and financial models. Ideally, the tool would help identify ecosystem services not previously identified on the site, and support educational efforts to build awareness of the value and benefits of nature, across Dow sites and beyond.
Based on more than two years of development and testing at a number of Dow sites across the US with a team of ecologists and other scientists, economists, engineers, and business managers, the Ecosystem Services Identification & Inventory (ESII) Tool achieves this goal. A tablet-based Field App and web-based Project Workspace, the ESII Tool meets the quantification and educational components of the original concept while providing strong scenario analysis and decision support capabilities. ESII will be an essential support tool in Dow’s new 2025 Goal to Value Nature, which aims to identify $1 billion worth of value to Dow from projects that also demonstrate stewardship of natural resources.
While Version 1 of the ESII Tool was created with Dow’s business needs in mind, the Dow–TNC Collaboration is making the ESII Tool freely available to the public to promote more widespread awareness of the value of nature to businesses and communities and to encourage the broad uptake of ESII concepts and the ESII Tool. A community of practitioners, The ESII Tool Commons, is being established to help guide the continued growth and evolution of the Tool. Future versions of the ESII Tool will expand upon the functions and services currently available, as well as add new functions, services, and functionality related to unique geographies and the modeling of benefit flows. We hope you will join the Commons and become part of this evolution!
The ESII Tool (Version 1) was developed to help businesses such as Dow incorporate the value of nature into their business processes, strategies, and decisions. As such, the ESII Tool models and outputs were constructed and tested with an engineering and design perspective to facilitate actionable land use and management decisions. The ESII Tool helps non-ecologists make relative comparisons of the expected levels of ecosystem service performance across a given site, under a variety of conditions. As a planning-level tool, it can inform business decisions while enhancing the user’s relationship with nature. However, other uses that require ecological models of a higher degree of accuracy and/or precision, expert data collection, extensive sampling, and analysis of ecological relationships are beyond the intended scope of this tool.
The ESII Tool framework, like nature, will evolve over time. Future versions will include a broader suite of ecological functions, ecosystem services, and supporting services and will encompass broader geographies (currently, ESII is best suited to temperate climates).
The ESII Tool was developed in collaboration by TNC, Dow, and EcoMetrix Solutions Group.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends. Together with its more than 1 million members and 600 scientists, the Conservancy has protected 120 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide, and operates more than 100 marine conservation projects globally. The Conservancy works on the ground in all 50 U.S. states and more than 35 countries. To learn more, visit www.nature.org.
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company is driving innovations that extract value from the intersection of chemical, physical and biological sciences to help address many of the world's most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, clean energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow's integrated, market-driven, industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 180 countries and in high-growth sectors such as packaging, electronics, water, coatings and agriculture. In 2014, Dow had annual sales of more than $58 billion and employed approximately 53,000 people worldwide. The Company's more than 6,000 product families are manufactured at 201 sites in 35 countries across the globe. References to "Dow" or the "Company" mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at www.dow.com.
EcoMetrix Solutions Group (ESG) facilitated development of the ESII Tool for the Dow-TNC Collaboration. ESG is a group of natural resource specialists and decision-support tool designers who specialize in developing customized tools that quantify ecological processes and ecosystem services so that the positive and negative effects of decisions on natural systems can be evaluated ex ante, and verified/monitored over time.