Let’s get serious!

18 June 2012 | News story

IUCN and the UN Global Compact are helping business in Rio get serious about biodiversity, boosting private sector efforts in conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services – the benefits we get from nature.

Companies that account for the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES), for example, carbon storage, water purification or flood control, are developing this into a competitive advantage. They can do this by managing associated risks and impacts, using resources more efficiently, and generating new opportunities.

During the Corporate Sustainability Forum, held as part of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development this week, IUCN and the UN Global Compact launched The Framework for Corporate Action on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Gerard Bos, Head of IUCN’s Business and Biodiversity Programme, explains what happened.

So what was the reaction from the 100 or so participants.

The Framework explores how companies can integrate and build effective BES policies and practices into their business strategies, operations and throughout the value chain. Specifically the document will help the private sector to:

1. Develop, implement and disclose company policies and practices on BES to assess and manage related risks and opportunities, and

2. Work in close collaboration with policy makers in developing the public policy environment that encourages BES business as well as social and economic development.

The framework includes 10 recommendations for building biodiversity in business strategies. These are complemented by a checklist developed with the support of an ad hoc working group consisting of individuals from the private sector, NGOs and business associations. The framework also builds on current efforts by different organizations and initiatives in this area.

So with all the interest from business in biodiversity what are the chances of something serious coming out of Rio+20 for the business community?

The United Nations Global Compact is a policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.