Eco-System Services and Impact Assessments

We're catching up on our reading this week, and here's one report that particularly caught our eye. Take a look -- eco-system service valuation is only going to become more important in the future!

Weaving Ecosystem Services into Impact Assessment: A Step-by-Step Method

by Florence Landsberg, Mercedes Stickler, Norbert Henninger, Jo Treweek and Orlando Venn - October 2013

This report provides six steps to address project impacts and dependencies on ecosystem services as part of the environmental and social impact assessment process. These steps build on assessments routinely conducted by social and environmental practitioners to better reflect the interdependence between project, ecosystems, ecosystem services, and people.

Download it for free from the WRI Website.

Featured B Corp of the Month: Estancia Beef and Why Free Range Beef is both our Past and our Future

We’re big supporters of the principles behind the B Corp movement, but we want to do more than just "spread the love" about it, we want to share the sustainability success stories from other B Corps!  Each month we’ll be publishing an interview with a sustainability champion of a B Corp – and this month we are featuring Estancia Beef!

What made your company decide that sustainability was a priority?

Sustainability isn’t just one priority among many for Estancia; it is at the very core of our product and business. Producing beef the way nature intended—free range and 100% grass fed on naturally abundant, protein-rich grasses—is not only the more sustainable way to produce beef, it’s also the healthier way. The American market is hungry for beef that is produced sustainably, is healthy, and above all, tastes delicious. Estancia 100% grass fed beef is all of these things, but it’s our sustainable process that gives our customers such a great product.

What is your greatest sustainability accomplishment to date?

Our greatest accomplishment is also one of our greatest ongoing challenges: converting customers and especially old-school meat buyers to support our free range and 100% grass fed beef. We are shattering old, unsubstantiated stigmas against grass fed beef and encouraging butchers, chefs, and grocery shoppers to “just try it”. After a bite or two, many recognize that grass fed beef is not only richer tasting than conventional corn fed alternatives, but cleaner and healthier too. We are evangelists showing consumers the grass fed difference and the value of sustainable beef.

How are you addressing sustainability issues in your supply chain?

Estancia cattle are raised on open, natural grasslands—and when we say natural, we mean it. We don’t clear rain forests or other ecosystems to provide ample grazing land for our herds, and because grass fed beef does not rely on fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers, pesticides, and diesel, the carbon footprint is minimal. We take care of the environment because we love the land and the creatures that live on it. We also do it because our business depends on it.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your sustainability journey?

The business itself has to be “sustainable” beyond its goals in sustainability. It’s a rare consumer or meat buyer who repeat buys on sustainability alone. The taste has to be there. Product consistency, value, and distribution have to be spot on. By focusing on the whole business and the whole product, we can create a truly sustainable business.

Five years from now, what sustainability goals do you hope will be accomplished?

Estancia has big visions for the future, and we have every intention of making them happen. In five years, look to Estancia as the company who has defined and succeeded at building the model for sustainable beef production on a large scale. We want to bring grass fed beef to the mainstream.  

About the Company:

Estancia raises beef in protein-rich grass in the Pampas of Uruguay and Argentina. Estancia is served at highly acclaimed restaurants across the nation, including San Francisco’s Blue Stem Brasserie, The Slanted Door and True Food Kitchen. Estancia beef is sold at over 75 retail stores nationwide. For a full list of restaurants and retailers carrying Estancia beef, please visit our website at www.estanciabeef.com.  

About the Founder, Bill Reed:

Bill Reed is the co-founder and CEO of Estancia Beef. He grew up on a renowned Virginia cattle ranch, Brookview Farm, a leader in raising free-range, grass fed beef for more than twenty years.  His lifelong connection to the land inspired him to homestead in Alaska where he built a log cabin by hand, fished for salmon and trout, hunted birds and ducks, foraged currants and blackberries, and prepared meals over a wood stove using water collected from a nearby spring.  He eventually returned to civilization and worked for Odwalla and New Leaf Paper.  In March 2006, he joined his childhood friend and fellow rancher, JP Thieriot, to realize another lifelong dream: to create a venture that raised consumer awareness and appreciation for the health and taste benefits of grass fed beef. 

Want to know more about sustainable agriculture? Read out white paper: Sustainability and Agriculture go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly!

Strategic Sustainability Consulting Is Hiring!

We're delighted to have officially opened our new office in Lynchburg, Virginia. We're looking for two amazing people to join our team there. Are you the right person for the job? 

(Even if you're not the right person, we would LOVE for you to share these job postings with your network.)

Junior Sustainability Consultant (Full Time)

We're looking for a person with great writing, research, and analytical skills. You will be working with us on all aspects of our corporate sustainability consulting projects. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Sustainability strategy and planning -- helping clients understand how to identify, prioritize, and manage environmental and social issues
  • Carbon, waste, and water footprinting -- including data collection and validation, sustainability software implementation, calculations and analysis, and interpretation of the results.
  • Sustainability reporting -- interviewing personnel, drafting case studies, preparing data and charts, developing content, editing final text.
  • Research and analysis -- peer benchmarking, trend analysis, case studies, article writing, and best practice identification.
  • Project management -- client meetings, coordinating teams, timeline and budget management, template and process development.
  • Other tasks -- ability to step in and provide support for other tasks as necessary

We expect to spend a lot of time training you during the first year, but after that there is immense opportunity to grow in terms of salary and responsibility.

Check out the full job description (and how to apply) here.

Project Coordinator (Part Time)

Help keep our office running smoothly and our projects on track! You're responsibilities will be varied and include:

  • Administrative tasks (like managing the office calendar)
  • Project management tasks (like editing a client proposal)
  • Social media tasks (like scheduling posts on Hootsuite)

This job is for someone who is interested in sustainability but is content to spend the majority of time working on administrative, project management, and social media tasks. This is NOT a position for someone who wants to move into a full-time sustainability consulting role.

Check out the full job description (and how to apply) here.