Why should businesses care?

Business depends on biodiversity for success. Companies of all sizes need biodiversity in their direct operations and/or throughout their global supply chains.

Biodiversity - the variety of life on Earth - underpins the health, functionality and productivity of ecosystems. All species, even those we cannot see, have an essential role to play. Many are also critical for successful businesses.

The relationship between business and biodiversity is becoming increasingly important as access to natural resources grows less secure.

Food, fiber and fuel production, as well soil and nutrient cycle maintenance, all depend on and impact biodiversity. This means that industry sectors from agriculture, forestry and energy all rely on natural resources and ecosystem services for their operations and product offerings.

But industries that depend on biodiversity are also impacting it: Habitats are being destroyed, forests are being converted to other uses, air may be polluted and water resources are being challenged.

This is cause for concern in both business and society, because the loss of benefits from biodiversity impairs our ability to withstand and recover from extreme weather events, hindering our capacity to adapt to climate change. This drastically increases climate-related business risks. 

Measuring, and appropriately valuing, business impacts and dependencies on biodiversity can help us understand risks and opportunities, both seen and unseen. It can also provide decision-makers with better information to improve the long-term success of a company.

But this is a complex challenge, and as of now, it’s difficult for businesses to integrate biodiversity into their sustainability strategies and action plans.

WBCSD is working to deliver the solutions:

In 2014, we started leading the technical development of the Natural Capital Protocol on behalf of the Natural Capital Coalition. The Protocol will be launched in July 2016 as a step-by-step framework to measure and value natural capital impacts and dependencies in business decision-making. These include biodiversity.

The Protocol can be used for a range of applications, including risk management, exploring new revenue streams, improving products and value chain innovation, as well as preparing for future reporting and disclosure.

Because biodiversity is a particularly complex element, many organizations want to develop this area further, bringing additional clarity and guidance for business.

This is why WBCSD and IUCN have joined forces to improve integration of biodiversity into business decision-making. Together, we hope to build on the Natural Capital Protocol work, while scoping a new project focused on biodiversity measurement, valuation and reporting.

This is your chance to get involved, share your experiences, and place your company on the cutting edge of successful business decision-making.

For more information, contact Violaine Berger, Director, Ecosystems & Landscape Management at WBCSD on berger@wbcsd.org.