Interconnectedness of Forest Ecosystem Services, Environmental Corporate Impacts, and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Amazon Rainforest Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/0z709105s

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  • The ecosystem services provided by our forest resources and woodlands are multiple and diverse on all spatial and temporal levels, and include provision, regulating, cultural, and supporting services (Hanson, et al. WRI, 2008). Human activities are proximate and direct drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. In the Latin American region, around 40 million hectares, roughly the size of Germany, of forest were converted to other uses in the last decade (FAO, FRA 2010). This massive loss of forest resources has caused a huge concern and reaction of many governments, institutions, consumers and other stakeholders that require companies to implement responsible practices to favor the society and the environment (Porter and Kramer, 2006). Some companies are aware of their negative impacts on the environment and the potential risks for their businesses so they have taken the path of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to measure, prevent, mitigate or compensate those impacts, being the Global Reporting Initiative - GRI standard the most widely adopted reporting framework (KPMG Survey of CSR, 2013). The main goal of this research was to analyze the CSR Sustainability Reports of the top twenty-one (21) corporations in Latin America linked with the four commodities associated with Amazon deforestation (soy, beef, paper/pulp and palm oil) to assess if their CSR activities offset their impacts on environment, therefore the ecosystem balance is maintained in the Amazon rainforest. The study presented a "Sustainability Model in the Amazon" to find interconnections among forest ecosystem services, environmental corporate impacts, and CSR activities. It was also examined the level of dependence of commodities production on forest ecosystem services; it was graded sustainability reports of each corporation to assess fulfillment with PSI and GRI; finally, it was found the connections between the environmental aspects of CSR Standard with the four categories of forest ecosystem services to assess which of them are better represented in the standard. The findings of this research have identified that corporations have a high level of dependence for at least twelve (12) of the thirty-two (32) forest ecosystem services that are essential for commodities production. It was assessed that 70 percent of the thirty-two (32) FES were adversely affected by the economic activities and only 15 percent of them were enhanced. It was also possible to score the fulfillment of each economic sector with the GRI, obtaining the following results: Agricultural products (B); Palm oil Consumers (B+) Animal breeding sector (B+); and Plantations (A-). This pattern suggest an increasing risk of current business practices against the environmental balance, therefore, more efforts are needed to guarantee the sustainability of the forest ecosystem services in the Amazon basin.
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