Lisbon, 15 October 2019: Today, during the annual Council Meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), 24 CEO-led business organizations, and Global Network partners of WBCSD, representing about 2,000 companies, have launched the Lisbon Declaration, a joint initiative to support business action and commitment at scale towards addressing the challenges biodiversity faces today.

A strong business voice is critical to drive the change needed at a global level, these business organizations commit to work with their member companies to set out concrete and time-bound actions that will produce a real impact in the preservation of biodiversity at a local level. The initiative act4nature will serve as important inspiration for each local commitment: it was launched by EpE (also a signatory of the Lisbon Declaration) in France in July 2018, and signed by 65 companies.

Most signatories will also join the Business for Nature global coalition that will unify and simplify the leading business voices towards the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP 15 next year, through a dedicated feedback regarding local companies’ recommendations to constructively contribute to the political debate and bring the forward-thinking businesses’ perspective on the policy changes needed to address the nature crisis. The signatories will also build on the growing expectation that CBD COP 15 will achieve a global agreement on nature, just as UNFCCC COP 21 did for climate with the Paris Agreement. This global coalition hosted by WBCSD, brings together influential organizations such as the World Economic Forum, WWF, We Mean Business, Natural Capital Coalition, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), World Resources Institute and others.

The Lisbon Declaration is a pledge by many of WBCSD’s Global Network partners from around the world to seize the opportunity of making 2020 a turning point for biodiversity and enhance the critical role that natural capital must play to achieve truly sustainable societies and economies”, said João Wengorovius Meneses, Secretary General of BCSD Portugal.

“The business sector in Brazil is taking the lead to foster that biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use are intrinsically linked to the economic development of our megadiverse country. The Lisbon Declaration is calling us to this path by gathering what is needed to refrain the loss of biodiversity on a global scale. Brazil has already followed through, led by CEBDS, and will launch its own commitment on 29 October 2019 setting nine targets to be met by 2030 based on the pillars of prevention, mitigation, compensation and knowledge generation and sharing”, said Marina Grossi, President of CEBDS - Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development.

“Act4nature was launched in France to raise nature in the CEOs' agenda. It is fantastic that the Global Network members mobilize their many members for the preservation of nature. The movement is launched, let's amplify and spread it widely. The Lisbon Declaration is a key move in this direction!”, said Claire Tutenuit, General Delegate of Entreprises pour l'Environnement (EpE).

“Collaboration and action at a global level must be accelerated if we are to reverse the loss of nature. The Lisbon Declaration represents an important pledge from WBCSD’s Global Network partners to work together with the business community on solutions which preserve nature and biodiversity” said Diane Holdorf, Managing Director, Food & Nature and Senior Management team of WBCSD.

“The Lisbon Declaration will catalyze bold business action on nature and biodiversity around the world. This global collaboration is essential to amplify a united and impactful business voice in 2020 and beyond.” said Eva Zabey, incoming Executive Director at Business for Nature.

“Day in and day out, WBCSD’s Global Network of partner organizations advance solutions, advocacy, and awareness-raising efforts across the world. The Lisbon Declaration is the latest example of local leadership that will translate global needs and ambitions into business action targeting sustainability challenges, including biodiversity and nature”, said Filippo Veglio, Managing Director, People and Outreach at WBCSD.

The signatories from 24 countries – Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Finland, France, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA – represent a total of about 2,000 companies, with an estimated total of six million employees.

The launch of the Lisbon Declaration took place in Lisbon, during WBCSD’s Council Meeting, an annual event for members and partners that convenes over 400 business and sustainability leaders, as well as business councils from all over the world that represent WBCSD’s Global Network.

For more information on Business for Nature, please see here.

What the signatories say:

 

Sebastian Aníbal Bigorito, Executive Director of CEADS said: “We need to promote institutional, regulatory and cultural changes so that investing in ecosystems is not only seen as an ethically and environmentally just decision, but also an economically viable one.”

Andrew Petersen, Chief Executive Officer of BCSD Australia said: “There is an urgent need to transform Australia's food and land-use stewardship agenda as its biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate. In signing the Lisbon Declaration, we commit to working with members, government, partners and others to achieve the goals of the Declaration.”

Marie Delvaulx, Director, The Shift said: “We need a diverse group of partners in the search of a diverse number of solutions on biodiversity dilemmas. This is why we believe in this international partnership for life and nature”.

Marina Grossi, President of CEBDS - Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development said: “The business sector in Brazil is taking the lead to foster that biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use are intrinsically linked to the economic development of our megadiverse country. The Lisbon Declaration is calling us to this path by gathering what is needed to refrain the loss of biodiversity on a global scale.”

Santiago Madriñan de la Torre, Executive Director of CECODES said: "Businesses depend on Natural Capital. They should value it, conserve it and take advantage of it."

Olga Sauma, Executive Director of AED - Alianza Empresarial para el Desarrollo said: “In recent years, we have completely changed the balance of our ecosystems and of our biosphere.  We need collective action to drive innovative business solutions that combine development and conservation of our natural capital.”

Mikko Routti, CEO of FIBS said: “Lisbon Declaration will align corporates with Earth's available resources.”

Claire Tutenuit, General Delegate of Entreprises pour l'Environnement said: “Act4nature was launch in France to raise nature in the CEOs agenda. It is fantastic that the Global Network members mobilize their many members for the preservation of nature. The movement is launched, let's amplify and spread it widely. The Lisbon Declaration is a key move in this direction!”

Konstantinos Konstantinou, General Manager of SEVBCSD Greece said: “Given that Greece maintains 23% of EU flora and fauna, SEVBCSD welcomes the opportunity to join the Lisbon declaration as part of our mission to present business solutions and good practices and incentivize the wider business community towards ecosystem conservation and restoration.”

Iren Marta, Managing Director of BCSD Hungary said: “Preserve biodiversity is key for the survival of the Humanity. By signing the Lisbon Declaration we express our commitment to take actions.”

Tomás Sercovich, CEO of Business in the Community Ireland said: “At Business in the Community Ireland, we understand the foundational role of the environment in social and economic sustainability, which is why we think business has a role to play in ensuring the protection, restoration and sustainable use of nature. Therefore, we are proud to have signed the Lisbon Declaration.”

Maria van der Heijden, CEO CSR Netherlands of MVO said: “Business around the world fully depend on a flourishing natural world, therefore we urgently need to stop further degradation. As business community we can only respond by taking profound action now and work towards the new economy.”

Micaela Rizo Patrón, General Manger of Peru 2021 said: “At Peru 2021, we are aware of the great biodiversity in our country and the importance of its conservation for the future of the planet. It is part of our mission to enhance a systemic view where businesses understand and better manage their impacts on the ecosystems they depend from.”

Marzena Strzelczak, General Director of Responsible Busines Forum Poland said: “The topic of climate change and the associated biodiversity is crucial for us as a business and as humanity. We cannot survive without biodiversity, neither us nor business. As they say, "You can't eat money." We believe that together we are able to turn towards the economy that is not exploiting but renewing the environment.”

João Wengorovius Meneses, Secretary General of BCSD Portugal said: “There’s a Portuguese poet who wrote that Portugal is a garden by the sea. That also applies to Lisbon, a beautiful city, with much blue and green. The Lisbon Declaration is a pledge by many WBCSD’s Global Network partners from around the world that sees the opportunity of making the year of 2020 a turning point for biodiversity and the role that natural capital should have in truly sustainable societies and economies.”

Germán Granda Revilla, Managing Director of Forética said: “Companies need to understand how deeply they depend on nature and how, managing their impacts, can result on relevant business opportunities. Moreover, the undoubted connection between nature and global environmental trends such as climate change and circular economy make action and commitments like these absolutely crucial.”

Olmar Albers, CEO of oebu – the Swiss Business Council for Sustainable Development said: “Biodiversity is of utmost importance as it goes hand in hand with climate change.  It is not enough "only" to combat climate change if the rapid loss of biodiversity is not halted. We must master both challenges in order for humans and animals to survive. Companies will need to be a part of the solution and that is why we have signed the Lisbon Declaration.”

Andrew Mangan, Executive Director of US BCSD said: "Bringing the WBCSD Global Network together in a collective biodiversity and ecosystem services engagement opens the door to real change. Congratulations to BCSD Portugal for leading this effort."

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