Launched as a web-based information platform in 2004, Ecosystem Marketplace publishes newsletters, breaking news, original feature articles and major reports about market-based approaches to conserving ecosystem services. Beginning in 2007, staff began collecting survey data to inform the first-ever “State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets” report. Since then, coverage has expanded to include forest carbon, watershed investments and biodiversity in our signature “State Of” market analysis report format. Lately, EM has explored new topics of interest to our traditional markets (e.g., the buyers’ report), expanded our coverage to new focal topics (e.g., Supply Change, and the Conservation Investment Survey), and increased our external advising and consulting opportunities (e.g., Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Forest Stewardship Council).
The world’s population depends on ecosystem services, but in economic terms, these services are typically “free” and consequently, increasingly overexploited. One promising approach to sustaining vital ecosystem services is to enable market-based mechanisms to mediate supply and demand, putting a price on these services. Market-based mechanisms can then generate financing for sustainable management and long-term conservation of ecosystem services. These markets are emerging but currently small and limited in impact.
EM believes that transparency is a hallmark of robust markets and that by providing freely-accessible information, we can facilitate transactions (thereby lowering transaction costs), but also catalyze new thinking and spur the development of new markets and the infrastructure that supports them. Eventually these markets will grow and become a fundamental part of our economic system, resulting in sustainable supplies of ecosystem services, without which we cannot survive.