Biodiversity in Business

 

The importance of biodiversity for companies

Cosmetics, food and pharmaceutical companies depend extensively on biological resources to find essential components for their activities and create new, innovative ingredients for their products. The loss of biodiversity can thus, have a direct impact upon business operations with raw material declining and their costs subsequently rising.  All companies are dependent on functioning ecosystems to remain in business but also deeply affect ecosystems within which they run their activities. For instance, the most critical or endangered ecoregions on Earth are those where most of the human and economic activities are taking place.

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13 millions ha

of forests have been converted to other economic uses in 10 years

(2000-2010,FAO)

“At least 40% of the world’s economy and 80% of the needs of the poor are derived from biological resources. In addition, the richer the diversity of life, the greater the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic development, and adaptive responses to such new challenges as climate change. ”
— The Convention about Life on Earth1, Convention on Biodiversity
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12000

companies in over 70 countries have signed up to the UN Global Compact, committing to greater environmental responsibilities

Growing awareness

Businesses are increasingly realising the importance of biodiversity as a vital source of innovation and inspiration and as an imperative to assure long-term access to natural ingredients. The UEBT was born specifically out of the recognition that additional efforts were needed to engage the private sector with BioTrade practices. Driven by growing consumer demand for naturalness, trends to eliminate synthetics in product formulations, and new technologies, companies increasingly embark on biodiversity based R&D. Aquatic, soil, and plant biodiversity are sources for innovation in various sectors, providing new active ingredients, scents, nutritional qualities, or higher yielding plant varieties. 

 
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Biodiversity: a key asset for business

Can doing good also result in doing well? Companies slowly integrate the fact that ethical sourcing of biodiversity can drive brand value and positive impact.

Biodiversity is increasingly seen as a purpose for the brands and as an opportunity to increase their performances, as ‘responsible’ companies attract more consumers. Our 2016 Biodiversity Barometer survey showed 72% of respondents agreed that they were more interested in buying products from companies that actually pay attention to biodiversity. By mainstreaming ethical BioTrade practices, UEBT helps its members to stand out in the world market and aims at transforming the way business is done on the large scale. 

 

Business a critical partner in advancing biodiversity cause

How companies manage their sourcing practices greatly affects the environment and the local communities. The private sector is thus recognized by the international community as being a critical partner in advancing sustainable development. By adopting ethical sourcing of natural ingredients, businesses can contribute to recognizing and increasing the value of biodiversity, as well as promoting local development. In the meantime they will be able to grow economically while generating positive impacts along their supply chains. Individual businesses, and eventually whole sectors will need to change the way they operate to generate such positive impacts on the large scale.