Hyderabad, 15 October 2012: In the context of the COP11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Hyderabad, India (8-19 October 2012), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) announces the development of a “Business Ecosystems Training India” (or BET India) program. The initiative aims to advance companies’ knowledge and build practical skills related to biodiversity and ecosystems in India.

“We can’t have two separate processes, where policy makers discuss the issues of this world at COP11 while businesses are lagging behind.” said Peter Bakker, President, WBCSD. “All companies whatever their sector of activity, need to understand why biodiversity and ecosystems are critical to their business. They then need to better measure, manage and then mitigate their ecosystems impacts and dependencies –the BET India program will help corporate India factor natural capital into their operations”

Alongside the rapid expansion of industry in India, many companies are facing ecosystem-related challenges that can result in operational shut down due to resource constraints (e.g. water), or negative impacts on operation costs due to degraded environment (e.g. flooding). To deal with these issues, companies need to fully understand how they impact, and how they depend upon, ecosystems and the services that they provide. This is exactly the objective of the BET India program.

The BET India initiative builds on the existing global BET program released by the WBCSD in early 2012. BET has been developed by WBCSD in collaboration with an advisory committee that brings together some of the world’s largest companies, NGOs, UN related organizations, and academic institutions.

BET India will comprise the development of an India-specific BET training material covering Indian public policies and case studies from companies with operations in India. This will be available online, for free, with trainer notes and materials in early December 2012. It will also include a three-day “train-the-trainer” session in Delhi (end Nov 2012), to prepare selected trainers to deliver BET sessions with companies based in India, December onwards. The program roll out will then be managed by WBCSD’s representative office in India in collaboration with WBCSD partners including IUCN, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and TERI-BCSD. It will also be embedded in the new Leaders for Nature in India initiative to be launched by IUCN at COP11.

“As natural capital in India is under growing pressure from all sectors of society, Indian industry aims to increase understanding of its impact on ecosystems, and seeks practical tools to help manage these impacts. We are running the BET India program to ensure qualified trainers are available in India to support companies in their efforts towards effective and long-term ecosystems management” said Caroline Twigg, WBCSD India Coordinator.

WBCSD’s Business Ecosystems Training India initiative is supported by the UK government in India

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