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.