Companies sign statement for biodiversity and ecosystems

16 December 2011 | News story

Eleven Dutch and multinational companies have signed a statement of intent to develop concrete projects on biodiversity and ecosystems in the Netherlands and abroad. They have agreed upon this with IUCN NL, the Netherlands committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), during a high-level meeting in The Hague.

By protecting and conserving nature, the companies are aiming to sustainably use the products and services provided by biodiversity and ecosystems. Examples of these are freshwater, renewable resources, sequestration of CO2 and maintaining soil fertility for agriculture. The joint statement of the companies to work together for biodiversity and ecosystems, with a 20 year vision, is unique in the world.

“The companies do realise that ecosystems will determine the boundaries of our economy. Only by cooperation, we will learn how to cooperate with this” says Willem Ferwerda, director of IUCN NL. The agreement is a result of Leaders for Nature, the business engagement network of IUCN NL. Signatories are the Dutch offices of ABN AMRO, AkzoNobel, ARCADIS, Cofely Nederland NV (part of GDF Suez), DHV, DSM, InterfaceFLOR, KLM, Nutreco, Philips and PwC.

In the short term, some of the companies will already start with a pilot by using their industrial area as a corridor between nature areas. By doing this plant and animal species can migrate over larger areas and have therefore more change to survive in a changing climate. IUCN member organisations like the Zoogdiervereniging and RAVON are supporting this initiative.

At this moment industrial areas only have one function: the housing of offices and factories. This “grey” infrastructure can be used much better. By developing the services of nature (ecosystem services) in industrial areas, nature and the private sector can strengthen each other. This development increases the profitability of the industrial areas, involves and raises awareness amongst employees and strengthens the connection between the companies and their surroundings.

The so called Inspirational Programme of Leaders for Nature also covers company actions on the medium and long term. Each company will participate with its own role based on the companies’ specific expertise. By showing the value of ecosystem services for companies, the necessity to protect nature becomes visible and can also be used for strategic decision making. As part of the programme there will also be a focus on closing their material loops and making production cycles and processes more sustainable.

For more information you can contact Marijn van der Pas, Coordinator Public Affairs and Communications of IUCN NL, tel 06 2026 3954.

About Leaders for Nature
Leaders for Nature is the business engagement network of IUCN NL. The 20 Leaders for Nature (LfN) companies share knowledge and take concrete action to operate sustainably in their working field. The Leaders for Nature network unites board members, managers and young professionals of the member multinationals to strengthen biodiversity and ecosystem worldwide. More information: www.leadersfornature.com

About IUCN NL
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) is world’s largests and oldest nature organisation, consisting of scientists, locale conservationists and governments. Yearly IUCN composes the Red List of threatened plant and animal species. IUCN NL is the umbrella organisation of 35 Dutch nature and environmental organisations. IUCN NL assists the Dutch government, the private sector and conservation organisations to conserve and restore nature worldwide.