Why does biodiversity matter?
The raw materials and services that biodiversity provides help maintain a healthy and sustainable environment in which a business operates. Wetlands provide a good example of this. Home to many species, they provide a natural drainage system which can reduce the risk of flooding for many businesses.
Biodiversity is important for its intrinsic value but it is also a key factor in securing economic stability. Safeguarding and enhancing biodiversity is a key pillar of the Government's Sustainable Development Strategy for the UK. For details of the policies and requirements placed upon organisations please see the policy summary page.
But while biodiversity benefits business, businesses may not always return the favour. All companies can have an impact on biodiversity in the course of their business. For example, they may:
- use natural resources, such as water
- produce or consume products [perhaps not immediately obvious how this relates to biodiversity
- own and manage areas of land
- finance activities which have direct and indirect impacts
- use an overseas supplier or import raw materials that impact biodiversity
- release by-products into air, land or water
In addition, most companies contribute to climate change to a varying degree, through the energy they use, for example.
Businesses have a responsibility to help conserve it for future generations. A business that does so will not only directly safeguard current and future operations, it can also secure its competitiveness and profitability, in some of the following ways:
- Resource acquisition and process operation - all businesses ultimately depend on the availability of natural resources so ensuring these are sustained in the long-run is a key business benefit.
- Regulation and licensing - ensuring biodiversity is not diminished as a result of your businesses actions will help meet legal requirements concerning the environment.
- Liability and risk management - knowledge of biodiversity resources, and management of potential impacts of a business upon it, reduces the risk of liabilities being incurred.
- Market position and customer retention - implementing a biodiversity action plan can reap rewards by linking initiatives and performance to the products or services you are trying to sell. Such 'green branding' can enhance current sales or lead to the development of new markets.
- Investor relations - two thirds of investors believe that good management of environmental and social performance can help make a company attractive to investors.
- Community relations - a business is more likely engage positively with local communities if it has regard for biodiversity and its management since this is often a key issue for local people.
- Human Resource management - action on biodiversity can make an important contribution to the company's image, culture and benefit package that will attract and retain high quality employees.
What can you do?
What each business can do to support biodiversity will be very specific business. The South East England Biodiversity Forum are keen to work with businesses and would be happy to discuss your specific needs and opportunities. For more information please contact us following this link.