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Ducks talk green: Profit and habitat

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Ducks Unlimited Ecopraxes: Ecoservices and Business Strategy Forum

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Nov. 10, 2009 – We know effective conservation can happen in the field and in places of government. Now Ducks Unlimited is bringing together conservationists who make a difference in the boardroom. DU hosted the first Ecopraxes: Ecoservices and Business Strategy Forum on Thursday, Oct. 22, in Chicago. Ecopraxes brought together corporate executives, conservation group representatives, local government, agriculture and ecosystem services market leaders to share their experiences and recommendations related to ecosystem services valuation and developing ecosystem market projects.

The keynote address was presented by Mark Rey, former undersecretary for natural resources and the environment. He set the stage by describing the policy environment in which corporations are developing sustainability strategies.

Contributors included Doug Oberhelman, CEO elect of Caterpiller; Geoff Kneen, vice president of Bayer CropScience and Rick Merdan, marketing strategy manager at NewPage Corp. John Tomke, DUMAC president and business leader in his own right, moderated the discussion that kept guests at the Chicago Club engaged and asking questions regarding their own positions in a rapidly changing environment.

Perhaps the most striking takeaway from the evening was that all of these corporations, and others represented by members of the audience, have recognized that aggressive exploration of emerging markets and sustainability strategies is important for profit on many levels. For instance, not only does the potential for being a leader in sequestration add to the bottom line, but also end users are demanding that suppliers be as "green" as possible. Practices that work well for ducks also can be effective marketing tools.

Companies depend on the services that healthy and diverse ecosystems provide, such as freshwater supply, water purification, climate regulation, pollination, flood mitigation and storage and biodiversity. Degradation of these ecosystem services can threaten overall corporate performance, while at the same time creating entirely new business opportunities and industries. Ducks Unlimited is engaging business, government and agriculture in the conversation about best practices and sustainability for everyone.

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.

Kristin Schrader
kschrader@ducks.org
734.623.2000

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