Scaling up Business Ecosystems Training – the US and Chile leading the way

Education is the first step to sustainability. According to a United Nations Global Compact Survey, 86% of CEOs think that companies should invest in enhanced training of managers to integrate sustainability into strategy and operations

Geneva, 16 September 2013: The WBCSD also identified education as being a critical step in its member companies’ journey towards sustainability. Realizing that there was a gap in the understanding of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the WBCSD released in 2011 a capacity building program named Business Ecosystems Training (or BET), with the aim to equip companies with the skills they need to better understand but also measure, manage and mitigate their ecosystem impacts and dependencies. BET is an instructor-led program composed of four modules of approximately four hours each that gradually go into the topic according to the learners’ needs. It allows learners take a deep dive into the interdependency between business, biodiversity and ecosystem services. It also introduces tools and methodologies (such as the Ecosystem Services Review or the Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation) that can help business build better informed strategies, taking into account the challenges that arise from biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. 

Since it was released, the BET material has been used by a number of companies and organizations, and most recently by WBCSD’s Regional Network partners in the US and in Chile. In the US, the WBCSD and US BCSD have partnered with a number of consultancies and universities to customize the program and organize several training sessions in 2013. To cater for US companies’ needs, the program was condensed into a one day training session, with a specific focus on the US context. In Chile, AccionRSE recently translated the material in Spanish with support from mining company Antofagasta Minerals, and organized in July a training sessions in four modules targeting Chilean and Argentinian companies under an alliance with BCSD Argentina.

The US and Chile are just examples of the versatility of the material, which can be translated and customized to fit different audiences, sectors or countries. In order to foster delivery of the material, all the customized versions are available online, and the WBCSD encourages all organizations having leveraged and customized the material to share their work with others.

You can contact us for more information about the upcoming BET training sessions at berger@wbcsd.org