Explore the resources below to assist in completing this action.
Biodiversity guidance action 5.2.1
5.2.1 Map your activities against impact drivers and/or dependencies
a. Identifying impact drivers
Once the impact pathway is understood, it is important to consider how biodiversity impact drivers and dependencies can be measured. In a practical sense, you could determine how your business activities drive impacts on species and habitats, as these two metrics are the most easily quantifiable measures of biodiversity, particularly for site-/project-level assessments. However, as noted in the Framing Guidance, biodiversity is much more than species and habitats alone.
Biodiversity impact drivers can be direct (impacting biodiversity immediately) or indirect (leading to changes in biodiversity as a consequence of something else). These are identifiable because they result in a measurable change to the environment. This can be through the measurable use of a natural resource called an input (e.g., area of wetland used during construction), or the creation of a non-product output (e.g. volume of pollutant emitted to the wetland during construction). Examples of direct and indirect biodiversity impact drivers are presented in table 5.1 below.
Type of impact driver
Impact driver category
Examples of specific, measurable impact drivers related to biodiversity
Area of land converted from natural forest to agricultural land, area of seabed used to install a windfarm
Number of animals displaced due to project installation
Emission of GHGs into the atmosphere
Wastewater entering the marine environment, agricultural runoff, operational noise
Invasive alien species
Movement of invasive species through shipping and transportation of goods
Demographic and sociocultural
Increase in human population near project site, change in consumption pattern of local resources (by humans)
Economic and technological
Trade of species
The IUCN Threats Classification Scheme (IUCN n.d.) details the categories of threats arising from impact drivers in a hierarchical structure. It details current drivers of decline for individual species, including historical threats that are no longer active and future threats that are likely to occur within three generations or ten years. This can be used to help identify impact drivers posing a threat to, and consequently impacting on, biodiversity. Activities highlighted as having a greater threat would be deemed as having a higher risk and should be prioritized for avoidance, mitigation, and offsetting in line with the mitigation hierarchy.
b. Identifying dependencies
As biodiversity is an integral part of natural capital stocks, and underpins the goods and services that stocks generate, businesses inherently depend on biodiversity. For example, a coffee plantation will be dependent on the pollination of its coffee plants to yield coffee beans (see figure 5.1). A successful coffee yield is dependent on the habitat (a component of biodiversity) used to grow the coffee plants and the pollinators within the area.
ENCORE (Exploring Natural Capital Opportunities, Risks, and Exposure) is an online tool to help businesses identify the impact and dependency pathways related to their business activities. It is applicable to all business sectors and financial institutions and details how impacts and dependencies on natural capital may pose a business risk if environmental degradation occurs.