Firms, biodiversity and ecosystem services. What interactions and strategies? What accounting information systems?

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Joël Houdet’s PhD defense (Synergiz’s Président) took place on October 18 2010 at AgroParisTech (CIFRE scholarship co-financed by Veolia Environnement & the ANRT).

To download it: Firms, biodiversity and ecosystem services. What interactions and strategies? What accounting information systems? (Pdf 16Mo).

To download the PowerPoint Presentation (Pdf 3Mo).

Thesis committee:

M. Bruno DAVID, Research Director, UMR 5561, CNRS

M. Denis GASQUET, Managing Director, Veolia Propreté

Mme Nathalie FRASCARIA-LACOSTE, Professor, UMR 8079, AgroParisTech

M. Jacques RICHARD, Professor, UMR 7088, Université Paris-Dauphine – Co-chair

M. Michel TROMMETTER, Research Director, UMR 1215, INRA – PhD supervisor

M. Jacques WEBER, Research Director, CIRAD – Co-chair

Abstract :

Firms play major roles in biodiversity loss and are under increasing social pressures to mitigate their impacts. Within this context, our PhD thesis aims to propose new conceptual frameworks and tools so as to reconcile ecology and economy. In its first part, we analyze the strategic behaviors of firms with respect to their interactions with biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES). If the latter are often perceived as sources of legal constraints and additional costs, we underline the multiple advantages that firms may gain by assessing and managing their interdependencies with living systems. In the second part, we focus our attention on the innovations necessary to the onset of dynamics of co-viability between business and biodiversity, and, more precisely, on the development of new indicators. Two work streams are explored. Through various case studies, we first formalize an accounting framework for managing business interactions with BES, associating costs and revenues with BES data sets.

We then present the underlying principles and structural components of a Biodiversity Accountability Framework which would target stakeholders, towards standardized guidelines for reporting corporate performance regarding BES. Although the widespread use of these accounting tools would require further research, we emphasize that their institutionalization would be critical to setting up and managing new modes of regulation combining economic tools for mitigating BES loss and remunerating BES supply.

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