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Guidance for businesses to value biodiversity

29 September 2020
Biodiversity Guidance


New guidance launched today will enable businesses and financial institutions to put the value of biodiversity at the heart of decision making.

The importance of biodiversity is increasingly recognised for its role in building resilience against climate change, supporting communities and livelihoods, and underpinning the global economy. However, a lack of consistent tools and frameworks to effectively integrate this value into internal corporate decision making has hampered efforts to date, contributing to accelerating biodiversity loss and mounting risk for businesses and financial institutions.

Recognising the value of impacts and dependencies on biodiversity provides a clear business case for the protection of and investment in biodiversity around the world.

The Biodiversity Guidance will help businesses and financial institutions ensure that they better capture the value of biodiversity in their decision making. This will enable holistically informed, nature-positive decisions that safeguard the benefits that biodiversity provides.

This Biodiversity Guidance is a companion to the Natural Capital Protocol, a decision-making framework that enables organisations to identify, measure and value their impacts and dependencies on natural capital.

Global biodiversity is in rapid decline. The recent Living Planet Report found that the population sizes of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles have seen an average drop of 68% since 1970. The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 found that only 6 of world’s 20 global biodiversity goals will “partially achieved” by the 2020 deadline if existing national commitments are met.

Jonny Hughes, WCMC Chief Executive Officer at the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), said: “The next ten years is the only window we have for tackling the global crisis facing nature. Every part of society will need to be involved in reversing biodiversity loss, but particularly the private sector. This Biodiversity Guidance will be crucial to helping businesses and financial institutions urgently measure and understand their impacts and dependencies on nature and become nature-positive.”

This newly launched Guidance will empower businesses, financial institutions, policy makers and others to make positive change by conducting biodiversity-inclusive natural capital assessments to inform their decision making. The Guidance uses the step-by-step approach of the internationally standardised Natural Capital Protocol.

Robert Alexandre-Poujade, analyst at BNP Paribas Asset Management, a piloting organisation said: “The Biodiversity Guidance is the one-stop shop for biodiversity applied to finance. It uses the best available science and provides a clear framework for financial institutions to use in developing their biodiversity strategies, and ultimately reduce their impacts and manage their dependencies on nature.”

Global and regional frameworks for biodiversity such as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 are moving towards frameworks and strategies that promote business decisions that value nature.

Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director at the Directorate-General for Environment at the European Commission, said: “It is essential for corporate decision makers to gain comprehensive insights into both the impacts and the dependencies of their products and processes on natural capital and biodiversity throughout the value chain. This guidance will provide a very useful contribution to the implementation of the new EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, which aims to better integrate biodiversity into business’ decision making”.

There are four stages to the Biodiversity Guidance – Why? What? How? and What Next?  A Biodiversity Guidance Navigation Tool and two introductory primers will be launched later this year to guide users through a biodiversity-inclusive natural capital assessment, suggesting several tools and methodologies to successfully complete the process.

The guidance has been piloted by leading businesses and financial institutions who dedicated significant resources to ensure that their peers will understand and benefit from this work.

Mark Gough, Chief Executive Officer of the Capitals Coalition said: “The success of organisations around the world is dependent on the value they receive from the capitals; natural, human, social and produced. The value provided by biodiversity is a key part of this. Providing organisations with the tools needed to understand this value and to operationalise it in business decisions will provide a more holistic understanding of the system in which organizations operate, leading to integrated decision making with broad benefits across the capitals.”

Mike Maunder, Executive Director, Cambridge Conservation Initiative: "The Biodiversity Guidance document is a vital and timely tool for all sectors of society as we wrestle with the challenges of not just retaining natural capital but importantly, regenerating it as a growing investment for society. Nature is core to the survival of society, fundamental to the future of business, and we need to build it into heart of decision making."