The time for biodiversity business

biobusiness logo

Biodiversity can be a good business. Business, on the other side, can be also very good for conservation!

In an effort to strengthen IUCN Members’ capacity to develop even more successful businesses, the IUCN Business and Biodiversity Programme embarked on a project to determine IUCN Members’ experiences in developing biodiversity businesses as part of their conservation programmes.

The project, funded by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the French Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Town and Country Planning, assessed IUCN Members’ needs and determined how to enhance the success of their efforts. It also allowed the Members to share their experiences, lessons learned and challenges encountered in developing such businesses.

Approximately 80 IUCN Members were identified as using business development as part of their conservation programmes. Of these, approximately 63 were short-listed based on further research into their work and subsequently contacted for interview. In this selection process, an effort was made to ensure a fair representation of the countries and regions in which IUCN works. A total of 40 IUCN Members then provided input into the research through semi-structured telephone interviews and by sending reference material whenever this was available. The interviewed Members originated from more than 20 countries worldwide, from Honduras and Botswana to Jordan and Lao PDR.

This project generated three products, available in English and French:

  • The publication “The Time for Biodiversity Business”, illustrating a selection of the many great businesses developed by the conservation organizations that participated to this study. The twenty-two biodiversity businesses illustrated in this publication range from the more traditional ecotourism operations, to natural ingredients that support the growing wellness industry, to nature focused books. The products are located in all regions of the world. The point of view of 10 experts on issues such as the role of governments; the need to share benefits with communities; the experience of multinationals, complement the stories. This publication is also available in FrenchSpanish and Japanese.
  • The power-point presentation “A guide to enterprise development for conservation organisations”, providing initial ideas on how to set up biodiversity businesses. This presentation is aimed at conservation organizations that want to start a biodiversity business. Key tips are offered following a sequence of steps that reflect the steps in the development of a business. A list of useful resources is also provided.
  • A report on “Lessons learned from building biodiversity businesses for conservation”, summarising the key lessons shared by the participants to this research.

Closely linked to this project, the Holcim-IUCN relationship has developed a concept focusing on Biodiversity-based microenterprise development (B2MD). The main objective of the concept is to assist and guide multinational companies in collaboration with other entities in planning and managing micro- and small enterprise development projects that create sustainable livelihoods in the community and support biodiversity conservation. 

Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

With financial support from the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE).

Also with support from the French Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Town and Country Planning (MEEDDAT).