Biodiversity issues present risks and opportunities for business, yet few companies understand what they are and fewer still have begun responding properly through their strategies and practices.
Biodiversity is the term used to describe the variety of life on Earth. It encompasses genetic diversity within species as well as the vast array of different species and the ecosystems they form.
It also includes the evolutionary processes that produce species and the ecological interactions that keep ecosystems functioning.
The biodiversity we see today is the product of around four billion years of evolution. It has sustained human life for thousands of years by providing food, fuel, shelter, fibre and medicine, and is the foundation of the planet’s life support systems, such as atmospheric and water regulation.
Today, we face a biodiversity crisis driven by unsustainable demands from the growing human population. We are altering natural landscapes and utilising natural resources at an increasing and unsustainable rate.
As society wakes up to the value of biodiversity and takes steps to protect it, the case for incorporating biodiversity into business planning and operations grows stronger.
The risks of ignoring biodiversity issues include:
- challenges to legal licence to operate
- disruption of supply chain
- damage to brand image
- consumer boycotts and campaigns by environmental NGOs
- fines, third-party claims for environmental damages and future environmental liabilities
lower ratings in the financial markets.
How we can help
Working with our partners Biocensus, we can support you in understanding the implications of biodiversity for your organisation and developing your response. For example, we can:
- provide an introduction to biodiversity and how it affects your business – for example through an awareness-raising workshop for key staff
- help you engage stakeholders (e.g. local communities, government, regulators, suppliers) on biodiversity issues
- carry out a review to identify aspects of the your direct operations and your supply chain that impact on biodiversity, and to assess the risks and opportunities
- recommend ways to upgrade your sourcing so it reflects biodiversity issues, for example by enhancing procurement policies, developing new ways of assessing suppliers, engaging with suppliers to help them improve their performance, and training procurement staff
- advise you on how to take proper account of biodiversity in your CR or sustainability strategy and reporting, and in your company’s core business strategy.