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Biodiversity Guidance action 9.2.3
9.2.3 Make [biodiversity-inclusive] natural capital assessments part of how you do business
Global reports have ranked biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse as one of the top five threats humanity will face (WEF 2020b) providing the opportunity and momentum for businesses to address the issue, not only for risk management but for market advantages (WEF 2020a and PwC 2020).
The Capitals Coalition believes biodiversity-inclusive natural capital assessments improve risk management leading to better decisions and a competitive advantage within your business and sector. To ensure the longevity of these benefits to business, the results of these assessments need to be continually incorporated in decision-making and the actions taken need to be responsive to the identified risks at that time, resulting in an adaptive and resilient working culture.
To optimize the value to your business from a biodiversity-inclusive natural capital assessment, you should consider:
- Embedding biodiversity within your business model
- Keep updated with global, regional, and national biodiversity policy and its implications for business activities (e.g., access to finance and license to operate). This can inform any internal policies you might develop or provide the basis for an update to internal goals and targets.
- Strengthen the business case for managing your relationship with natural capital and biodiversity within your organization, amongst corporate board members and senior staff of your business.
- Relate your natural capital assessment results to your business model and present results of your biodiversity-inclusive natural capital assessment to senior management. Increasing rates of natural resource consumption and climate change can lead to unexpected and unpredictable changes for your business.
- Updating your methodology on how to measure and value biodiversity
- Continually explore new methodologies on how to measure and value your biodiversity impacts and dependencies.
- Continually engage with project developers, suppliers, site managers, and other external stakeholders to better identify how your business is impacting and depending on biodiversity within existing projects and new projects.
- Maintain internal capacity to measure and value biodiversity impacts and dependencies.
- Exploring linkages with new and existing processes and or targets
- Ensure that information on biodiversity is integrated into other business management systems, including financial and management accounting through an existing process or a natural capital account. Consider existing environmental management systems (EMAS or ISO 1400) for implementation.
- Consider how biodiversity targets can be incorporated into societal goals which your business aims to achieve. This way multiple societal goals can be targeting with fewer business actions (UNGC and Duke University 2010).
- Building capacity and strengthening collaboration amongst stakeholders
- Ensure the team undertaking the natural capital assessment fully understands the company/project/product impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and includes consideration of the value of this in future biodiversity-inclusive natural capital assessments. Also, ensure these individuals have the necessary resources and skills, similar to how your company manages financial and business accounts.
- Develop a theory of change on the role that biodiversity-inclusive natural capital assessments can have in influencing decision-making within your business (Conservation International 2013).
- Continue to collaborate with stakeholders with whom you have engaged in the natural capital assessment to facilitate knowledge exchange on your impacts and dependencies and shifts in stakeholder concerns and priorities.
- Continue to develop relationships with internal stakeholders and professional organizations to help influence the global debate on biodiversity. Doing so will ensure businesses are included in policy developments (early mover advantage) and can demonstrate their contribution towards global biodiversity goals and targets.
- Continue to investigate the opportunities for collective action on biodiversity with other businesses and/or sectors.