I am sitting in the airport in Portland Oregon waiting for my flight back to JFK Airport after attending the two-day Northwest Environmental Business Counsel Conference on Ecosystem Services Markets and basking in the glow of inspiration, enthusiasm and hope for the future of these markets.
Portland Oregon is a hotbed of innovation where technology entrepreneurs are partnering with leading environmental NGO’s to create market based mechanisms for the environmental markets. Together they are improve ecosystem markets by enabling stakeholders to gain access to information and capital in order to ensure that vital habitats can be more effectively protected, measured and valued.
Below I include a list of organizations that are cutting a trail in these markets and helping to turn what most people feel is a vague and somewhat confusing concept into mainstream concepts and opportunities.
– The Defenders of Wildlife http://www.defenders.org/
– The Willamette Partnership http://www.willamettepartnership.org/
– Parametrix http://www.parametrix.com/
– The Other Firm http://www.theotherfirm.com/
– The Bonneville Environmental Foundation http://www.b-e-f.org/
– The Ecosystem Marketplace http://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/
– The Bay Bank http://www.thebaybank.org/
– Biodiversity and carbon registry TZ1 http://www.tz1market.com/
About 250 ecosytem enthusiasts from around the country attended the Northwest Environmental Business Counsel Conference to hear speakers such as Sally Collins, who heads the new USDA Office of Ecosystem Services Markets, and environmental markets advocate Sara Vickerman of Defenders of Wildlife, discuss and debate the current state and future of these markets.
New Contributions in the Field:
– Innovations that will provide private landowners and environmental investors with a centralized data and information portal include The Conservation Registry (http://www.conservationregistry.org/) and LandServer (http://www.landserver.org/) (scheduled to launch in the fall).
– Other creative initiatives include The Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Water Restoration Certificates, which allow the public to purchase certificates that will offset their personal and business water use footprints. For a minimum $25 donation, BEF will return 25,000 gallons of water to rivers and streams, as 1 certificate = 1000 gallons. Visit http://www.befwater.org/.
– Parametrix is creating ecosystem metrics to measure and value ecosystem services, thereby opening the sector to a wider investor base where they can direct capital and impact in support of conservation.
The participants at the conference exhibited a strong sense of community and open collaboration, and a clear understanding of their leading roles in changing the way the world views and values our precious habitats. I plan to follow their example in becoming part of this cohesive community of pioneers supporting the environmental markets. I plan to supporting and collaborating with the above organizations so that my company, Mission Markets, can provide our members with the leading edge in technology, science, and information.