Biodiversity Indicators for Site-based Impacts

An aggregated approach for assessing corporate biodiversity performance

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Biodiversity Indicators for Site-based Impacts Methodology V.3.2.

Biodiversity Indicators for Site-based Impacts Excel Dashboard Tool V.3.2

Biodiversity Indicators for Extractive Companies – An Assessment of Needs, Current Practices and Potential Indicator Models

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The Challenge

There is a rapidly growing awareness of the importance of biodiversity for the well-being on our planet and its role in stabilising the climate. Businesses rely on biodiversity and the ecosystem services it supports in a number of ways, but they can also significantly impact biodiversity through their operations. The importance of businesses with site-based impacts achieving effective biodiversity management performance is widely acknowledged, for example by IPIECA (the Energy and Biodiversity Initiative), the Cross-Sector Biodiversity Initiative (CSBI), the International Council on Mining and Metals, the UN Global Compact, the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) and others. There is a need for businesses to understand how they are affecting biodiversity, and how well they are doing in managing that impact.

Measuring and reporting appropriate biodiversity performance requires the identification of appropriate indicators. Companies with site-based impacts (for example the energy and mining sector) have identified a specific need in their industry for a simple and standardised approach to monitoring the effectiveness of biodiversity risk management actions at both corporate and site-levels. However since the Energy and Biodiversity Initiative and International Council on Mining and Metals provided guidance to industry on site-based biodiversity indicators in 2003 and 2006 respectively, little progress has been made in our ability to measure corporate biodiversity performance. This tool has been developed in response to the challenge and provides a robust and repeatable methodology for selecting biodiversity indicators with a structured approach to use these indicators for assessing the state of the ecological environment, the pressures on biodiversity and the responses.

Our solution & impact

The Biodiversity Indicators for Site-based Impacts project is a joint initiative between UNEP-WCMC, Conservation International and Fauna & Flora International, with support from IPIECA and the Proteus Partnership. The project developed and tested a methodology for aggregating biodiversity impact/benefit and performance data at a site level to provide indicators of biodiversity management performance at the corporate level that meets the needs of companies with site-based impacts. It has been developed to link to, and be complementary with, existing efforts to identify corporate indicators, in consultation with industry.

The primary users of this methodology are anticipated to be corporate and site-level environmental experts within businesses to monitor risks or benefits associated with the impact on biodiversity and management response. While this methodology was designed with the energy and mining sector in mind, it is applicable for any sector in which companies have significant site-level impacts upon biodiversity (e.g. agriculture). By setting out a clear methodology for indicator identification, this will be a first step in addressing the need to standardise how biodiversity performance is measured and reported across businesses.


The methodology consists of the following three stages:

  • Stage 1 Biodiversity significance screening: screening of the company’s portfolio of operations to identify sites with potentially high biodiversity significance, based on globally available datasets combined with site validation to identify high significance sites for management prioritisation
  • Stage 2 Site-level indicator framework: defining of site-level biodiversity indicators using the state-pressure-response (SPR) framework, based on a three-step assessment of 1) globally and 2) locally available datasets and 3) discussions with site-level personnel ideally based on site-level monitoring for high significance sites; and
  • Stage 3 Aggregating indicators to corporate level: aggregation of scores for SPR at site level up to the business unit, division and corporate level to provide insight into performance on the ground (under development).

Version 3.2 of the methodology incorporates the results of piloting with seven energy and mining companies. A further iteration of the methodology will be produced later in 2020 following piloting of the third stage on aggregation to incorporate guidance and to ensure the methodology can support application across a company’s portfolio.

The Biodiversity Indicators for Site-based Impacts methodology is one of >12 corporate biodiversity measurement approaches considered under the Aligning Biodiversity Measures for Business collaboration.

Expertise & Team

This work is led by our Business and Biodiversity team (Katie Leach and Leo Murphy). Our team brings significant expertise in the development and interpretation of biodiversity indicators for the private sector.

Partners & Donors

The Biodiversity Indicators for Site-based Impacts project is a joint initiative with Conservation International and Fauna & Flora International, supported by IPIECA and the Proteus Partnership. The project is also able to draw upon the expertise of an independent advisory group and piloting was conducted with support from The Biodiversity Consultancy.