A joint effort for evaluating private sector biodiversity performance
The European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC) and the Global Nature Fund (GNF) have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to promote the development and implementation of “Biodiversity Checks for Companies” and the “European Biodiversity Standard”.
During the past years, two approaches have been developed in Europe to help companies determine how well they are dealing with biodiversity issues. IUCN Member European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC) in the Netherlands, worked together with Middlemarch Environmental Ltd on a European Biodiversity Standard, which in turn is based on the UK Biodiversity Benchmark, managed by the UK Wildlife Trusts – another IUCN Member. At same time, the European Business and Biodiversity Campaign, in which IUCN is a partner, has introduced “Biodiversity Checks”, which have been developed by the Global Nature Fund, who are in the leading role in the Campaign.
The official cooperation agreed between ECNC and GNF to ensure better synergy between these different approaches is the result of a meeting arranged by IUCN between the different partners, held in the end of October 2011 in Tilburg, the Netherlands. The goal of the meeting was to look for synergies and parallels between the instruments in order to create a way for both approaches to be supplementary to each other instead of competing, and in that way creating synergies towards the ultimate goal of better biodiversity performance by companies.
Both processes show companies the effects and dependencies that their operations have on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Carrying out the Biodiversity Check does not entail a certificate or a “logo” for that business. However, if a company follows the process to apply for the European Biodiversity Standard, they can be given an award provided that they comply with all relevant criteria.
In the recently signed Memorandum, ECNC and GNF have agreed on collaboration regarding the development and implementation of the two instruments. Furthermore, GNF and the partners of the European Business and Biodiversity Campaign will, where relevant and appropriate, advocate the use of the EBS to companies, especially those companies that will apply the Biodiversity Check.
IUCN supports these approaches by its Members and partners, as the development of relevant standards is one of the key interventions described in the recently approved IUCN Business engagement Strategy.