Nature provides us a healthy living environment, resources for recreation, educational resources, aesthetical value, spiritual meaning, and artistic inspiration. All these services depend on biodiversity.Clearly,plant and animal species and their ecosystems provide business with both ingredients and products.
Investment, profit and growth rate are components of business. Biodiversity is the least known ingredient that is crucial to long-term profits and business survival. As biodiversity is life itself, the loss of biodiversity knows no geographical, economic, social, cultural and political boundaries. Therefore, biodiversity conservation is everyone’s concern, including business.
A booming source of income for business and communities like ecotourism is highly threatened by biodiversity loss brought about by habitat destruction, deforestation, pollution, illegal wildlife trade, invasive alien species, poverty and population growth, inadequate law enforcement, lack of conservation resources, over-extraction and exploitation, climate change, and irresponsible business practices. Ecotourism which is an important economic activity in natural areas that provides opportunities for visitors to experience powerful manifestations of nature and culture, and to learn about the importance of biodiversity conservation and local cultures. At the same time, it generates income for conservation and economic benefits for communities living in rural and remote areas. Industries like this depend on biodiversity for their natural capital together with agriculture and agribusiness, fishing industry, food processing, mining, pharmaceuticals, fashion, tourism, cosmetics, electronics, energy and oil industry, and construction are aware that aside from inflation and competition, biodiversity loss, which could lead to loss of supply of raw materials, could result in significant business losses.
Business and industry should get involved
Businesses can have direct or indirect impact on biodiversity. They also have relevant biodiversity-related knowledge, expertise and resources needed to conserve biological resources. Thus, the business sector is an integral part of the solution to biodiversity loss.As biodiversity disappears, so do the opportunities for new products, new technologies and new business opportunities. As users and beneficiaries of biodiversity, businesses are increasingly becoming involved in the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity.
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) recognizes the need to engage the business and industry sector in biodiversity conservation. During the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the CBD held in Nagoya in 2010, the parties’ decision on business engagement called for “the establishment of national and regional business and biodiversity initiatives and to strive towards a global partnership on business and biodiversity”. Thus, the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity was born.
The Global Partnership encourages the business and industry sector to establish national partnerships that will “encourage dialogue among stakeholders and help raise awareness of biodiversity and sustainability issues among the business community.
The first members of the Global Partnership were formed around, or shortly before, the COP10 Meeting in 2010. The initial members were G8 Parties (Canada, France, Germany and Japan plus the EU). Since 2010, interest has grown, with new initiatives springing up in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Europe.
The CBD Secretariat, along with various partners including the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity in Southeast Asia, is endeavoring to engage the business sector through a number of different avenues and at a number of levels to help create the conditions for greater implementation of the CBD and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
National partnerships for business and biodiversity
Membership in National Partnerships is voluntary. It is open to individual businesses and may include business associations, governments, academia and NGOs. A National Partnership is managed by a board of directors, a steering committee or equivalent with a secretariat that is the primary point of contact handling day-to-day activities. Through National Partnerships, member companies promote the engagement of business in biodiversity conservation and promoting the three objectives of the CBD: the conservation of biological diversity; the sustainable use of the components of biological diversity; and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. To become a member of the Global Partnership, National Partnerships needs to be endorsed by their governments.
Programme Development and Implementation Unit