Business plays a very critical role in preserving & protecting nature. Many businesses are actively addressing the impacts and making a strong case to invest in conservation & sustainable use of biodiversity. They are increasingly considering biodiversity core to their business models, decisions, sourcing and production methods. Managing biodiversity is, therefore, a way to manage risk.
The consequences of biodiversity degradation and loss can lead to higher input cost or the disruption of key elements of a value chain. Biodiversity is also increasingly being considered to drive a strong and stringent national & international regulatory regime.
Indian businesses are increasingly recognising the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Many private sector firms have started the transition to meet the 2050 target of ‘living in harmony with nature’ and cap the global temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsius. With the growing concerns around degradation of natural resources, climate change and nature loss, it is vital for businesses to follow sustainable business practices that are essential for bringing a balance between development and growth on the one hand and the imperatives of nature on the other.
India Business & Biodiversity Initiative (IBBI)
The India Business & Biodiversity Initiative (IBBI) was launched on 22 May 2014. This initiative has been conceptualised by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and hosted by the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development (CESD). IBBI serves as a national platform for businesses and its stakeholders, engaging them through advocacy, policy, capacity building and guides to mainstream and sustainably manage biodiversity and ecosystem services across the business value chain.
Businesses join IBBI by signing the 10 Point Declaration (company CEO or equivalent needs to sign). The IBBI 10 Point Declaration was formulated by IBBI members to showcase commitment towards conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity in their business operations. As signatories, members need to submit a biennial disclosure report to show the progress made and present the various activities undertaken towards implementing declaration points across their business value chain.
Businesses are faced with challenges and risks of overexploitation of natural resources, land use change, habitat diversion, climate change and pollution which are leading to loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystem services. The IBBI declaration helps organisations to map their business linkages with biodiversity and ecosystem services and to identify risks and opportunities across their value chain.
IBBI member companies, as a voluntary commitment, submit a biennial biodiversity disclosure, based on the IBBI reporting framework, which showcases the efforts made by them towards acting and achieving conservation and sustainable development.
The Way Forward
IBBI members, in close consultation with the key stakeholders, are adopting ‘No Net Loss’ approach for meeting the Net Zero commitment. IBBI guides its members to build a company specific technical standard and action plan for no net loss across the operations, supply chain, products & services.
Businesses consider carbon sequestration to be an ideal solution for addressing biodiversity loss & climate change in a synergetic manner. This approach supports in creating multiple co-benefits for businesses. IBBI helps businesses to take up carbon sequestration using IBBI tool and provides capacity building programmes for developing suitable modules.
Valuation of Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services across the business value chain helps in identifying the key risks and recognise the value for mitigation & conservation. IBBI builds capacity of businesses on the tools and pathways for valuation. Business efforts towards conservation and restoration can be evaluated and value addition done in terms of benefits across the society, economy and environment determined. This will help businesses to identify their gaps and improve their performance towards positive change.
Integrating the learnings by following this reporting framework will help businesses to identify gaps and acting sustainably. It will help reduce dependency on natural resources, increase efficiency & improve operational performance, apart from meeting the regulatory requirements, addressing the socio environmental risks and delivering better value to stakeholders.