Our Strategy

Background

The calls on IUCN to engage Business date back to the creation of the Union in 1948. IUCN members passed nearly 200 Resolutions relating to the private sector throughout the history of IUCN – on agriculture, tourism, mining, finance, among others. As a response:  

  • The Economics Unit was created within the Secretariat in 1997
  • The Business & Biodiversity Initiative was created in 2000
  • The Business & Biodiversity Programme was established in 2003 
  • IUCN's Strategy for Private Sector Engagement was issued in 2004
  • IUCN's Operational Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement were first published in 2006 and then reviewed and republished in 2009, for more information on these click here
  • A new Business Engagement Strategy was launched in 2012 

We engage business sectors that present great risks or opportunities through their supply chain – directly or indirectly – on biodiversity and ecosystem services including habitat loss and overexploitation of natural resources. Potential sectors include:

  • Large biodiversity footprint sectors with high direct impact on ecosystems, habitats and associated local livelihoods: extractives (mining, oil and gas); agriculture, commercial fisheries; forestry; bio-energy.
  • High biodiversity dependent sectors with strong supply chain links at landscape or seascape levels: food and beverage; tourism; pharmaceuticals; consumer goods.
  • Leveraging sectors: financial; retail.

IUCN's Business Engagement Strategy (2012)

Over the past years, IUCN has gained experience in business engagements, demonstrating that companies can change the way they operate in a manner that benefits biodiversity and the lives of the people who rely on it.

The Business Engagement Strategy launched in 2012, builds on IUCN's experience in working with business. The Strategy aims to encourage transformational and demonstrable change at the company and sectoral level in how biodiversity is valued and managed by businesses in order to conserve and restore biodiversity and to ensure that biodiversity benefits are shared equitably.

The Strategy’s main objective is that business practices at landscape and seascape levels are transformed to generate benefits for biodiversity and natural resource‐dependent livelihoods. 

We take action in three interconnected areas:

  1. Help businesses to adopt policies on the ground that avoid and minimize impacts on biodiversity, seek opportunities for biodiversity conservation and generate benefits for people who depend on natural resources.
  2. Promote sustainability standards and safeguards in companies’ sourcing activities that have a positive impact on biodiversity and the livelihoods of local people.
  3. Support public and financial sector policies that integrate biodiversity and livelihood values in business decision-making.

Three entry points of IUCN's Business Engagment Strategy

IUCN Business Engagement Strategy

Photo: IUCN

 

Operational Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement (2009)

At the Barcelona World Conservation Congress (2008), IUCN Members requested “ … IUCN’s Council as soon as possible, in consultation with the Director General, to approve the Operational Guidelines by which the IUCN Secretariat and the Commissions interact with the private sector ..” (Res. 4.086). IUCN Secretariat used this as an opportunity to capture the lessons learned in applying the 2006 version of the Guidelines and review them accordingly.

The 2009 Operational Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement draw upon:

  1. The review commissioned by the Global Programme and carried out by Emma Duncan and Nicolas Bertrand between November and December 2009, and based on interviews conducted to 52 stakeholders - IUCN Members, councillors, Commission members and staff (Review of the application of the Operational Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement, E. Duncan and N. Bertrand, December 2008);
  2. An Internal review process led by the Business and Biodiversity Programme;
  3. The recommendations issued by Council on private sector engagements (Final review of existing agreements between IUCN and the business sector compared to IUCN’s private sector Strategy and Guidelines, D. Shand, 2008).

The revised version of the Operational Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement (version 2 – February 2009) was approved by the IUCN Council at its 72nd meeting (February 2009).

The 2009 version of the Operational Guidelines is also available in French and Spanish.

Implementation of the Operational Guidelines

The implementation of the Operational Guidelines is a priority for IUCN. Two main systems will be developed to support IUCN staff in implementing the guidelines:

  • A web based system that will mirror the Operational Guidelines and help users to implement each step. This system will include a public interface with members to share information and a database of all current agreements.
  • A “Companion” handbook that will provide additional information on the “how to”. The handbook will be a live document allowing anybody to share their experiences.