The intersection of business and biodiversity is often ignored by businesses, but it’s an important issue that merits consideration. At the Tech and Biodiversity Conference organised by TechUK last month, FieldHouse’s Dan Cooper had his interest piqued by discussion of how tech firms are operationalising and building biodiversity practises into their business models. In this post, he provides some reflections on how businesses can start thinking more about biodiversity.
There are two facts about diversity which are not up for debate. The first is widely known and mostly accepted; the second less so.
Fact number one: biodiversity is being destroyed at an alarming rate.
Fact number two: Biodiversity loss has massive implications for businesses.
Many don’t appreciate the impact that biodiversity loss has on businesses – ranging from causing disruption to supply chains to increasing regulatory compliance costs. Despite these impacts, many companies have only just begun to explore the ways in which they are themselves contributing to biodiversity loss – and only a small number of pioneering firms have published credible biodiversity strategies with robust goals.
No longer business as usual
Businesses are both affected by and rely upon nature. However, nature and the essential resources it provides are under threat as never before, with the private sector coming under scrutiny for the part it plays in the destruction of the environment. Protecting and restoring nature is fundamental, not only to global economic prosperity, but to the health and wellbeing of society. The worrying trends of the ecological crisis, interlinked and exacerbated by climate change, mean that we can no longer continue with business as usual.
The benefits of getting biodiversity right
While biodiversity considerations can seem arduous for companies – especially those in their growth stage – getting it right can lead to better outcomes and help make the value chain more resilient.
Businesses play a vital role in addressing this current crisis, and there is a clear need for credible metrics and tools that guide appropriate strategies and action. Biodiversity has been a conspicuous gap in corporate measurement and disclosure to date.
Biodiversity loss can directly impact businesses by disrupting their supply chains. Investors are already considering how to address biodiversity as part of their assessments, and how to direct capital toward companies that can better demonstrate a nature-positive strategy underpinned by robust, science-based targets.
So, what’s next?
To reverse large-scale biodiversity loss, companies across value chains must transform their businesses.
- Initially, businesses need to determine their scope of action, identifying the key issues they have the ability to tackle. They then need to prioritise these issues and derive the strategic objectives. Following these, developing a narrative to guide this biodiversity action is imperative.
- To integrate these strategic objectives into operations, companies need to set actionable science-based targets, measure their progress, and then – most importantly – disclose where they stands relative to the targets they set themselves, both at the start of their efforts and over time as they progresses toward their objectives.
- Finally, businesses can then begin to build the foundation for success. This can be achieved by educating their employees and business partners on the benefit of incorporating biodiversity into their company objectives, in addition to pursuing business partnerships that can echo their capabilities and perspectives on biodiversity.