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.
It is important that businesses are able to understand both how they are affecting biodiversity, and how well they are doing in managing that impact.
Companies are increasingly being called upon to demonstrate how they are positively contributing to biodiversity challenges and feeding into societal efforts to address them (e.g. CBD post 2020 targets and SDGs targets).
Companies in the extractives 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.
This is possible through the use of biodiversity indicators, which also have the added benefit of allowing businesses to report on their performance. However, while there has been increasing alignment around using approaches like the mitigation hierarchy to achieve no net loss or net gain performance objectives for biodiversity, there has been no uniform way for the private sector to measure progress on these goals and the past few years have seen a rapid diversification of indicator methods, developed for different sectors and to answer different needs.
As these methodologies develop, it is important that they are consistent in their broad approach, and that it is clear to private sector users why different indicators might be required for different management information needs.
UNEP-WCMC’s work on corporate biodiversity indicators aims to address these challenges through two projects:
1) The Biodiversity Indicators for Extractives project is a joint initiative with Conservation International and Fauna & Flora International, with support from IPIECA and the Proteus Partnership. The project aims to develop and test a methodology that meets the needs of extractive companies in understanding their performance in mitigating their impacts on biodiversity.
Based on the needs of extractives companies, a draft methodology for site-level indicators has been developed for testing. The methodology is being piloted by extractives companies throughout 2019 across a range of sites and operations. The methodology will be refined following feedback from the pilots and published for broader industry uptake.
2) The Aligning Biodiversity Measures for Business project aims to bring together indicator developers and key stakeholders in a series of workshops to:
The first of these workshops, which aims to explore current methodologies and identify common ground took place in Brussels in March 2019. The second workshop will take place in Brazil in November 2019 and will look to understand how current indicators can contribute to supporting global policy needs.
This work is led by our Business and Biodiversity team (Annelisa Grigg, Katie Leach and Leo Murphy) in conjunction with our Ecosystem Assessment and Policy Support team (Anna Chenery). Our team brings significant expertise in the development and interpretation of biodiversity indicators for the private sector. In addition, Anna coordinates the Secretariat of the CBD-mandated Biodiversity Indicators Partnership aiming to promote and coordinate the development of biodiversity indicators.
The project is also able to draw upon the expertise of an independent advisory group.
The Aligning Biodiversity Measures for Business project is a broad partnership including:
Many of these partners bring existing private sector networks with which they are actively working on indicator methodologies, and with whom they will consult and engage in delivery of the project’s objectives. The work is funded by the Boticário Group Foundation.