116 pages – French version
84 pages – French version here
Strong societal expectations about nature conservation, international events for raising awareness among leaders in 2020-2021, animal-based epidemics linked to growing human pressure on natural ecosystems, and indisputable scientific findings on the collapse of biodiversity have led businesses over the last few years to include nature more decisively in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies. Corporates have also become aware of the consequences and risks to them of potentially serious or systemic biodiversity erosion.
This report seeks to describe the actual levers and modes of action that are successfully being used by business, and also to identify the conditions for their scale-up: the point is how to take or pursue actions of a similar nature at different plants and sites, or in other sectors and businesses, without switching pressure from one environment or issue to another? This original publication, rich in examples, responds to it through 60 sharing of best practices.
See companies members: http://www.epe-asso.org/en/our-members/
This publication is divided into three chapters:
The French (and others) regularly observe the continuing degradation of biodiversity and ecosystems; companies too are beginning to note the reduction in the services provided by such ecosystems, such as the provision of raw material, and the regulation of water quality and of the climate. These changes are a source of growing concern for many stakeholders: scientists, NGOs and lawmakers. The topic has even changed perspective: the aim is not to prevent the disappearance of this or that species or to stop the ongoing erosion, but to find the means for us all, humans in the natural environment, to evolve with our ecosystems so that we adapt to changes as yet unknown to us: those shifts that have already occurred had not all been foretold. The degradation is not evenly spread, its effects are unforeseeable; but it is happening at an unprecedented pace and is largely irreversible once certain thresholds have been reached.
Companies are sensitive to the risks that this degradation and these imbalances place on their business. They are aware of the collective effect of degradation mechanisms on biodiversity, causing concern about the issues beyond their direct sphere of action but also raising many questions about what action to take: who can or must do what?
From this emerges the notion of the company’s broader corporate responsibility, a term that refers to the fact that a company, in the environmental and societal context of globalisation, is considered by society, if not by law, as partly responsible for what its suppliers do, the transport of their goods, the use clients make of their products and their end-of-life. Taking the first steps towards a more collective approach, a certain number of companies are starting to work on improving their understanding of how they interact with biodiversity even when that interaction is attributable to their partners, subcontractors, suppliers or clients.
Aware of society’s growing expectations from them, the EpE member companies have shared their experience and the tools they have developed or use to manage their dependency and impacts on biodiversity beyond their own production sites. This publication shows how the most advanced companies work on their products and services, with their suppliers and clients, to reduce their impact on biodiversity.
The brochure draws on some 30 concrete examples to demonstrate the benefits of this broader approach, its difficulties and the solutions that EpE members have found to incorporate this dimension in their operations.
This brochure is the fruit of the work of the Biodiversity Commission between 2010 and 2013. It gathers together the experience and best practices of EpE members in relation to biodiversity indicators. Here is a summary of the 4 parts of this publication.
Basic concepts and tools
Companies with a direct impact on biodiversity such as quarries, oil and gas operators and linear infrastructures etc have become used to integrating the issue of biodiversity into their everyday management processes. Other businesses with a more indirect impact are at a different stage in terms of awareness and experience. It is not unusual for businesses with an indirect impact to deal with biodiversity through sponsorship or forming partnerships with environmental associations in the first instance. Today, however, companies want to include biodiversity in their strategic objectives and are therefore exploring how best to approach the link between their business and biodiversity. “Measuring and managing biodiversity” has been published by the biodiversity commission and contains examples of members’ practices.
What are indicators used for?
Business ethics, management of the business, communication, risk prevention… there are a number of reasons that prompt companies to measure their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and how effective their actions are. Defining and implementing biodiversity indicators makes biodiversity relevant to strategic business goals, thereby attracting the attention of high-level directors. In addition, a voluntary commitment to positive biodiversity actions and transparent sharing of the biodiversity indicators helps create a dialogue with the different stakeholders – both internal and external.
Developing and selecting indicators for the business project
A business is part of an ecosystem (environment, partners and stakeholders) and studying this ecosystem and the issues and challenges surrounding it makes it possible to define the indicators. As there are a number of goals and spatial and temporal scales, companies must find a middle ground between what they ought to do and what is realistically possible, based on the information and resources available. In order to create an approach that is both understood and accepted, the process of selecting and developing the indicators should be accompanied by a dialogue with stakeholders.
What makes a good biodiversity indicator?
There are no standards for biodiversity indicators, but a look at the practices of EpE members allowed us to identify some general trends. Whether we’re talking about impact measurement, stock status or to give an overall view, companies often work in close collaboration with researchers to create a scientific basis for their biodiversity indicators with experts. The indicators, which must be verifiable, traceable and reproducible, in both time and space, are often monitored by scientists or associations over a long period of time. In addition, businesses generally seek fairly similar indicators to allow comparisons at group level. This doesn’t prevent local indicators from being used, however.
About forty concretes examples show key steps in developing and selecting indicators for the business project:
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