Leaders for Nature India organized first Master Class

15 July 2014 | News story

"It is high time businesses start internalizing their environmental externalities, and build towards a green Indian economy" said Mr. P. R. Sinha, Country Representative, IUCN India, whilst addressing the industry representatives at the first Leaders for Nature Master Class, organized on 8 May 2014 in New Delhi. During the day long Master Class, members of the Leaders for Nature network and interested partners sat together with leading experts from the IUCN team to understand the impacts and dependencies of businesses on nature, as well as assess what opportunities and risks arise from this. IUCN developed knowledge tools such as IBAT (Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool) were also introduced to the participants.

Leaders for Nature - India, implemented by the IUCN country office in India, is a business engagement network that stimulates and facilitates companiesin transiting towards a sustainable green Indian economy, by incorporating natural capital in their core business. In providing the necessary knowledge and tools developed by IUCN, its members and commission experts from around the world, and through peer-to-peer learning, Leaders for Nature sensitizes companies to the true value of nature and incorporating it in their strategic decisions. Leaders for Nature - India is a joint initiative of IUCN, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Hivos and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

The Master Class was attended by representatives from nine different companies, all major players within the Indian economy from direct, indirect and leveraging sectors, including Tata Sons, Tata Capital, Tata Power, Rio Tinto, Cairn India, Wipro, ACC, Ambuja Cement and IOCL. All participating companies were represented by a team of senior level executives from the sustainability departments, as well as managers of the .

The Master Class was based on the Biodiversity Ecosystem training developed by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and was modified for the Indian audience. Ms Bette Harms, Coordinator Leaders for Nature Academy, facilitated the training, participatory exercises and post session discussions.

Mr. Martin Sneary, Programme Director, IBAT IUCN, introduced the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) tool and its benefits to the businesses. IBAT provides a preliminary notion of the biodiversity present in any given region. Information is sourced from IUCN and her partner's globally recognized flagship knowledge products including teh IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Key Biodiversity Areas (priority sites for conservation,) and The World Database on Protected Areas. Mr. Sneary also presented case studies wherein businesses have benefitted from the tool.

Dr. Nik Senapati, Managing Director, Rio Tinto India, shared experiences from Rio Tinto’s journey towards having a Net Positive Impact on the Environment. He explained that developing new operations for Rio Tinto starts at the end, with its exit plans. He gave examples of how they currently try to off-set their impacts. For instance operations are on going on the Bunder diamond project in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Rio Tinto is working on compensatory plantations, and towards Vulture species conservation with IUCN member, the Bombay National History Society (BNHS).

Participating companies were introduced to the Natural Capital Road Map, developed by Leaders for Nature, and were asked to work to indentify their capacity needs which the Leaders for Nature network can help them with. Capacity needs were identified for the business themselseves as well as amongst stakeholders such as the government, quantifying material impacts, and risk assessment. IUCN’s role and expertise in this was viewed as crucial in the realization of these plans.

Looking forward, Leaders for Nature - India plans to build the capacity of businesses and to facilitate them to take action on the ground, by creating Natural Capital responsive business, thereby realizing Leaders for Nature - India’s vision that Indian businesses will have implemented solutions to reduce their ecological impacts resulting in a ‘net positive impact’ on ‘natural capital’; collectively creating an Indian economy that values, conserves and restores nature.  

For further details please contact

Mr. Aditya Petwal
Coordinator, Leaders for Nature - India
M: +91 9958225141 I E: aditya.petwal@iucn.org

Website: http://www.leadersfornature.nl 

Bengal Tiger being Released into the wild from a boat in the Sundarbans