Climate conversation often overshadows biodiversity loss discussion - but this is one of the important planetary boundaries that we have already breached. imate change and biodiversity loss are closely interconnected and we can't solve one without the other.
What is the role of business in addressing this issue? Here is a brief guide to get you started.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth. it encompasses the rich diversity of ecosystems and the diversity within and between species.
Biodiversity is what supports life on our planet -we depend on the services that nature provides to us: water, air, food, shelter, conditions for life and wellbeing and mental health.
Biodiversity loss is a social justice issue:
- The global stock of biodiversity is in lower income countries because the higher income countries have already used theirs up.
- The cost of biodiversity loss is being increasingly borne by the most vulnerable communities who rely on it for sustenance.
- Indigenous lands are often being used for agricultural, mining as well as climate and biodiversity projects not only infringing the indigenous rights but disrupting the ecosystems on which these communities rely for livelihoods, cultural preservation and traditional heritage ways of life.
There isn’t a single solution to reversing biodiversity loss. However, you can begin by asking yourself questions to better understand the relationship of your business with biodiversity:
1. What activities and inputs of your business are dependent on biodiversity?
This may be a bit more obvious for sectors such as food & drinks, cosmetics & perfumery, fashion and construction - any that rely on natural inputs and resources. However, the issue isn’t exclusive to these - access to clean water, air, green space and healthy soil are services we get from nature, so when nature is no longer able to provide these, all businesses and humans suffer.
2. How might your business be impacting biodiversity?
Do any of these occur anywhere in your value chain?
- changes in land and sea use - you may not be in a food business, but you provide food to staff in the canteen or at events. Do you know where that food comes from?
- direct exploitation of natural resources - the more we use, the more we take from nature;
- pollution - this can be in soil (e.g. mismanaged waste or effluents discharge), water e.g. sewage and agricultural run off, or air - gases are often not visible, but air quality is a serious concern in cities and around industrial areas. That internal combustion vehicle isn't just affecting the emissions, what comes out of the exhaust gets into the air;
- invasion of alien species - did you know that bee-keeping projects in the cities are not always positive for wildlife?
Greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change which throws nature out of balance and causes habitats change to conditions that species aren’t adapted to.
Coral reefs is one example of this - when oceans become too hot, corals bleach which means all the life that lives in the corals no longer has a home.
3. How can I measure the biodiversity impacts?
This is an emerging area with standards that businesses can use emerging and getting better definition. Here are a few to get you started:
- The Global Biodiversity Framework
- Are you a land owner/ or developer? Biodiversity net gain metrics.
- Are you in agri-based business? EU has published a guide for SMEs.
- Are you a larger business? TNFD knowledge hub has guidance on metrics and indicators.
4. What actions can a business take?
- Some businesses may find it difficult to accurately measure their impacts, but even just knowing the effects your value chain may have on biodiversity gives you an opportunity to take meaningful action - LEAP framework provides a initial roadmap to get you started.
- Engage your suppliers - have they done an assessment?
- Contribute to biodiversity preservation projects - there is a need to mobilise finance towards ecosystem restoration. Try to look for projects beyond planting trees - although these are also very important.
- If you fund carbon compensation projects, choose those that also have a biodiversity benefit.
What actions have you taken?
Want to explore what this may mean for your business? Send us an email to email@example.com - we can guide you and help identify your first steps towards alleviating biodiversity loss.
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