Biodiversity and Industry (2008)
Recommendations of the meeting of the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy held in Paris under the French Presidency of the EU 19–21 November, 2008 concerning:
Acknowledging the high potential and responsibility of businesses to support the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems, so as to not jeopardize the delivery of goods and services that they provide, and in line with the Message from Lisbon 1 the participants of the meeting invite companies and the research community to further develop and implement inter-disciplinary research to:
1-Integrate biodiversity maintenance into business practice and ethics
- 1. develop performance indicators and accounting instruments with regard to the imperative to maintain biodiversity and ecosystem services, while respecting the legitimate viability constraints of businesses
- 2. develop management strategies and marketing tools, such as biodiversity-oriented certification and labelling systems, to integrate the goals of the Convention of Biological Diversity into common business practices
- 3. analyze the business-related prerequisites such as skills, competences, networks, and organisational learning that enable companies to make biodiversity-inclusive choices
- 4. analyze existing and develop new incentive measures, regulating instruments and policies to guide businesses to better integrate concern for biodiversity into their strategies
- 5. develop ecological, socio-economic and integrated models including product life cycle analysis to anticipate and manage the effects of businesses on ecosystems services and biodiversity.
2-Assess impact on biodiversity, valuation, mitigation and compensation
- 6. develop impact assessment methodologies and compensation schemes that better take into account the cumulative effects of individual business activities, renewable natural capital 2 and the need for prudent management thereof now and in the future
- 7. develop methods for risk assessment and accounting for damage incurred to ecosystem services exported across borders through trade and business activities, to avoid, diminish, and, if necessary, compensate for such damage
- 8. further develop methods of accounting and discounting for changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services, taking into account issues of uncertainty about baselines and recovery rates of ecosystem services
- 9. follow up on gaps in knowledge identified in forthcoming reports on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), for example the development of markets and payment systems for ecosystem services.
3-Improve the ability of ecological engineering and ecological restoration3 to benefit biodiversity and to use ecosystems sustainably
- 10. further develop and test methods to allow businesses to restore, rehabilitate, create or engineer ecosystems to achieve a sustainable, optimal flow of goods and services to society, while recognizing opportunities for, and obligations in, the realm of biodiversity maintenance, and for avoiding or minimizing damage to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
- 11. better understand how ecological processes and biodiversity can be managed or piloted to deliver essential goods and services sustainably to people, without degrading ecosystems and renewable natural capital
- 12. identify new products and services derived from ecological restoration, rehabilitation or engineering, identify sectors in which there is a potential for these activities, and provide guidance on methods to develop markets in these areas
- 13. identify incentives, and provide recommendations for their improvement, to encourage the use of ecological engineering, restoration and rehabilitation that benefit biodiversity conservation and sustainable ecosystem management, including methods for enterprises to present business cases and risk assessments that fully recognize the need for biodiversity maintenance and long-term maintenance of ecosystem services
- 14. develop a standardized scientific, economic and policy framework for monitoring, evaluating and reporting, to provide coherent and comparable assessments of outcomes concerning biodiversity and the delivery of services required by enterprises.
To develop the necessary high quality and relevant research, particular attention should be paid to:
- developing processes to identify and engage stakeholders, and identifying and agreeing desirable biodiversity outcomes (from aggregated effects at the landscape scale to genetic diversity) that are achievable in the context of enterprises’ activities.
- supporting and developing Business and Biodiversity Initiatives, from the national to the European and global levels, using the above-mentioned multi-stakeholder approach.
1 See the “Message from Lisbon on Business and Biodiversity, 13th of November 2007, http://www.maotdr.gov.pt/Admin/Files/Documents/Message%20From%20Lisbon.pdf
2 Renewable natural capital is defined as biodiversity and functioning ecosystems that provide a flow of goods and services to humans (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005)
3 Ecological engineering is here understood as the creation, modification or manipulation of ecosystems to achieve a desired state or outcome. Although some definitions of ecological engineering include the restoration of ecosystems, this field is mentioned separately due to its large subset of activities and financing opportunities relevant for business and industry.