New report demonstrates business’ positive impact on ecosystems

Jeju, Korea, September 8, 2012 – Today, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development(WBCSD) launched a series of concrete sustainable solutions from some of the largest companies in the world with the launch of Biodiversity and ecosystem services: scaling up business solutions . The report sends a strong business message that companies are scaling up solutions to ecosystems challenges and demonstrating a positive response to achieving global biodiversity targets.

Peter Bakker, President, WBCSD said: “Business is a major player in helping to minimize negative impacts on our ecosystems and this new publication gives real examples from our member companies, showing how it can be done.  While there is no doubt that the challenges associated with ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss are huge and complex, our case studies collection shows that business is starting to tackle them. We need to now focus on scaling them up and implementing them at speed.”

Biodiversity and ecosystem services: scaling up business solutions features 25 case studies that showcase innovative actions and solutions, each having exponential impact that can be effectively repeated by other companies. The case studies also demonstrate how companies are positively responding to the global biodiversity targets set by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010 – the so-called “Aichi Targets.”

“We are at a critical point.We are living in an increasingly natural resource-constrained world and corporations must begin to think and act differently,” James Griffiths, Managing Director, Ecosystems WBCSD. “The companies featured in our report are leading the way. Their case studies provide guidance on how to measure, value, manage and mitigate ecosystems impacts and dependence. These solutions can be shared and replicated. Ultimately, they can inspire others to take action.”

Examples from the report include:

  • Hitachi, a leading global company specialized in social infrastructure innovation,has been piloting the WBCSD Corporate Ecosystem Valuation guide to value ecosystem services for their water treatment business in the Maldives, as well as their IT software that assists farmers make more sustainable decisions.
  • Holcim, a building materials and construction services provider, has implemented a biodiversity management system with help from IUCN, to manage biodiversity across the entire site life cycle from site selection to rehabilitation and closure.  The framework takes into account the wider biodiversity objectives in the surrounding area. For example, their quarry in Gujarat, India used a landscape approach and captured and preserved freshwater, planted trees, protected coastal zones through mangrove development, and sustained local livelihoods.
  • Mondi’s paper & packaging pulp mills in South Africa useraw material from high-yielding commercial forestry plantations that have been FSC™ (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, and managed according to New Generation Plantation (NGP) principles. Ecological networks play a key part in ensuring the impact of these plantations on biodiversity and freshwater systems is minimized.
  • Syngenta, a leading international agriculture company, is developing and disseminating best management practices (BMPs) for land and water use that minimize soil erosion and sustain crop productivity. By protecting the valuable topsoil through BMPs, farmers can enjoy fertile soils that continue to be productive.
  • Shell, a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies, has found new ways to implement habitat restoration measures and allow heavy equipment to cross soft peat land without compromising its hydrological functions, and therefore the land can continue to benefit natural habitats and wildlife.
  • Vale, the second largest diversified mining company in the world, aims to enhance and optimize its contribution to flora and fauna conservation in protected areas, such as in Amazon Rainforest and in the biodiversity hotspot Atlantic Forest inBrazil. In a number of cases, Vale is trying to demonstratethat the costs of maintaining protected areas are real investments in conservation and maintenance of natural capital.

WBCSD and its member companies will continue to lead and guide important ecosystem and natural resource conservation work by developing and advancing important policies, tools and best practices including Changing Pace, Ecosystem Services Review (ESR); the Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV); and the Global Water Tool.




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