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Date: 2022-06-30 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00017671

Thought Leader
Tim Gieseke

The social movement toward accounting for environmental sustainability is relatively new ... EcoCommerce as a Service


Peter Burgess
EcoCommerce as a Service

The social movement toward accounting for environmental sustainability is relatively new. But considering the complexity of adding ecological values into a mature economic system, it is quite amazing how far it has progressed.

When I wrote EcoCommerce 101: Adding an ecological dimension to the economy, a decade ago, I had only a handful of examples to grab from: Chicago Climate Exchange, New York-Upstate Watershed Project, Nestle-Vittel Bottled Water Effort, Walmart's Sustainability Index announcement, and several attempts at eco-labels for retail. Today, they number into the thousands and include not just the food and ag sector, but utilities, insurers, all levels of governments, citizens and consumers, and NGOs.

This proliferation is not unusual, but fairly predictable as entrepreneurs and investors explore new markets, seek out efficiencies, generate profits...and then some level of consolidation occurs. If you are keeping track, we are not yet in the consolidation phase, but continually add new and different sustainability accounting models across organizations and sectors. It is an exciting learning opportunity to discover how humanity is going to prosper and thrive on its only planet.

This is a multi-billion dollar investment to capture the multi-trillion dollar value of the earth's 'factory' supplying clean water, productive soils, balanced atmosphere, biodiversity, and all things priceless. And for the most part, this investment is based on the conservation model developed for the early conservation movement of the 1930s. Technologies, such as GIS, precision ag, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, metrics, and remote sensing has added efficiencies to this model, but for the most part, we now have thousands of individual sustainability accounting models in multiple sectors, based on the USDA's first conservation delivery transaction model. What has happened in those nine decades?

I think Curt Carlson's quote about access to inexpensive technologies sums up this environment,
Innovation from the top down is orderly and dumb, and innovation from the bottom up is chaotic and smart
Normally, that is in traditional markets of a mature economic system, this sort of mess sorts itself out. But in all of human history, we have never had to add ecological values of the global commons into the economic system. Achieving this will take an economic model at another level of organization. A new platform is needed to initiate consolidation and enable all potential stakeholders to enter this new economic dimension. Yes, adding ecological values to the economic system is a really big deal. These values are the basis of much of the economic activity and social well-being. This is, of course, not a trend, but a necessity for human civilization. You probably know that, but many will never know, and we need a model so businesses, corporations, utilities, insurers, NGOs, citizens, consumers, etc. that want to participate do not need to reinvent the sustainability wheel. Or, perhaps, that they don't even have to know about sustainability to be part of it. I mean, there are 7+ billion people interacting with the ecology and economy. There is no way each are going to be versed in economics and ecology principles.

EcoCommerce as a Service is the next order of organization above the fray of thousands of disparate eco-markets and natural capital accounting systems. It is based on an EcoCommerce Exchange model were the foundation of ecological sustainability, that is, (conditionally renewable) natural capital is recognized as the asset that generates the ecosystem services that the movement is focused on.

EcoCommerce as a Service enables any public or private entity to register their region and environmental sustainability interests from a geographical perspective. It enables any land manager to register their (conditionally renewable) natural capital and identify their environmental sustainability output from a geographical perspective.With this model, matchmaking, interaction, and transaction can occur with extreme efficiency. That is the primary value to the eco-buyer.

The value to the eco-seller is more profound. EcoCommerce as a Service enables the land manager to engage in multiple transactions across multiple sectors with minimal additional costs. EcoCommerce as a Service was designed by a farmer that understands ecosystem services have inherently low and diffuse values, and high and multiple transaction costs. Eco-buyers don't need to care about that, because they see their purchase as a single, non-diffuse transaction, and it carries only a single transaction costs. That mindset and transaction model is a perfectly good place to start, but it is not a good place to end up.

I know a lot of sustainability professionals understand that eco-market consolidation is a coming natural order of things, but few understand what that will look like. A current strategy is to start at the 'too big to fail' scale where market share is gathered by default. Most other strategies carry the good intentions of working with land managers to assist them in moving their sustainability needle. EcoCommerce as a Service strategy is to enable evolution to occur as technologies and values change over the many decades ahead of us.

Consider being a part of the the launch of EcoCommerce as a Service and connect and message.

Tim Gieseke has three decades of experience related to the production and accounting of natural capital and ecosystem services. He has life-long agriculture experience along with a MS in Environmental Sciences, landscape conservation, water and agriculture policy, ag-env business ownership, local and state government experience, and author of three books;

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EcoCommerce 101: Adding an ecological dimension to the economy (2011). This book lays out the history of the conservation and sustainability movements, how natural capital is the nexus between the economy and ecology, and develops an example case study on how ecological and economic values can be integrated at the farm level.

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Shared Governance for Sustainable Working Landscapes (2016). This book explains the 'how' of EcoCommerce 101 and the differing roles governance plays in the 'tragedy of the commons' and in an EcoCommerce Exchange model. The book describes how private and club good transactions function to motivate land management behaviors and how corporations and other sustainability demanders can efficiently substantiate their sustainability claims.

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Collaborative Environmental Governance Frameworks: A Practical Guide (2019). This book introduces a new method to describe and design governance frameworks in complex social systems. It explains how hierarchy governance models are being out-competed by network governance models in all sectors, and how one can use this insights to track the evolution of governance in sustainability efforts.

This trilogy of books lays out a solid understanding of the governance, transaction, and policies needed to develop and employ EcoCommerce as a Service. With this knowledge, a user-friendly interface can be created to enable anyone to initiate and transact ecosystem service values.

Report this Published by Tim Gieseke Tim Gieseke President, AgRS, LLC Published • 1w 38 articles

Following ... EcoCommerce as a Service is the next level of organization needed to consolidate the thousands of eco-markets by creating efficiencies for buyers and sellers. #eco #markets #ecosystemservice #EcoCommerce #governance #supply_chain #carbonfootprint
Tim Gieseke ... President, AgRS, LLC
Published on November 2, 2019
The text being discussed is available at
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