Tools and methods for biodiversity management

I - Exploring your status-quo and biodiversity linkages

In the start phase your company will need to understand its status quo with regard to sustainability. Part of this phase is an initial assessment of its dependence and impact(s) on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Assessing Dependence and Impacts

The most important part of this step is the assessment of the dependence and impacts on biodiversity. It is important to recognize that companies depend on biodiversity and have at the same time an impact on biodiversity. Both impacts and the dependence can be direct or indirect. A mining company has for example a direct impact on natural habitats through its mining operations but a car producer has an indirect impact through its procurement of steel from the same mine. Fishing companies depend for their wild catch directly on maritime biodiversity but a supermarket only indirectly.

A company's impacts can stem from a vast array of fields. It is thus necessary to perform an in-depth analysis of the current state of the company and the resulting effects on the environment and biodiversity. Such an assessment will encompass the entire company, from the production process to procurement, from marketing to human resources. The analysis can be done with the help of external consultants when no in-house expertise is present.
The Business and Biodiversity Interdependence Indicator

The Business and Biodiversity Interdependence Indicator (BBII) was developed by the Orée Institute for companies to perform a self assessment in order to determine direct and indirect interactions with biodiversity and ecosystems. It has mainly been performed by companies from various industry sectors and local governmental authorities in France. The method will later on be expanded to form a biodiversity accountability framework.

The European Business and Biodiversity Campaign offers to implement basic biodiversity assessment for companies of specific industry sectors. Currently this Biodiversity Check is developed for Tour operators and will be operational in the second half of 2010. Moreover a number of tools such as ARIES, inVEST or IBAT are being developed and tested that can help to facilitate a companies' biodiversity and ecosystem impact assessment

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The Ecosystem Services Benchmark

The Ecosystem Services Benchmarking tool was developed by the Natural Value Initiative in collaboration with investors from Europe, Brazil, the USA and Australia. Designed to evaluate investment risk and opportunity associated with biodiversityand ecosystem services impacts and dependence in the food, beverage and tobacco sector, it offers investors unprecedented access to information on corporate biodiversity and ecosystem services risk and opportunity management.

The Ecosystem Services Benchmark (ESB) is aimed primarily at asset managers, but can also inform the banking and insurance sectors. Using it to assess companies within an investment portfolio will enable investors to identify companies that are proactivelymanaging these risks and opportunities and those that have not yet responded. It has a secondary application for companies within the food, beverage and tobacco sectors for which it provides a strategic framework within which to consider the issue. By using it, companies will learn how to communicate more effectively with investors, gain greater reward for sustainable sourcing and facilitate effective management of an issue of increasing significance.

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Go to > Step II - Analysing your biodiversity management
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