The Business Case for Biodiveristy - Switzerland

22 April 2011 | News story

Participants from business, the Swiss Government and NGOs gathered at the headquarters of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to discuss the Business Case for Biodiversity in Switzerland in a workshop sponsored by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and co-hosted by Mercuria. 

IUCN was a natural venue for such a gathering.  Housed in one of the greenest buildings in Europe, IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network .  “Whilst members of IUCN do not currently include companies, this may be part of our future” said IUCN’s Regional Director for Europe – Mr. Hans Friedrich.  In the meantime, IUCN continues its longstanding engagement with business in numerous ways, including through its six Commissions which have amongst their members experts from within the private sector around the world, as well as through formal partnerships with businesses and close relationships with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the World Economic Forum and the UN Global Compact.  “After all”, said IUCN’s Director General – Ms. Julia Marton-Lefèvre, “IUCN’s mission is to influence encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable... And business is of course a core piece of society.” 

The participants considered a number of questions about the next steps for business and biodiversity in Switzerland including their expectations from a business and biodiversity platform and ways in which it could strengthen integration of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Swiss companies. The discussion also highlighted the need to articulate the ‘stage of the debate’, recognizing that biodiversity still needs to be brought onto many people’s radar screens. It concluded that a follow up is important in order to further explore how to engage and take the discussion forward, possibly preparing a blueprint for a Swiss Business and Biodiversity Platform based on demands, requests and needs of the private sector.

Speakers at the event included: 

  • Opening Remarks: Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General, IUCN
  • Market Solutions for Environmental Scarcity: Andrei Marcu, Senior Vice President, Head of Regulatory and Policy Affairs, Mercuria Energy Group
  • The Business Case for Biodiversity in Switzerland: Robert Lamb, Senior Policy Advisor, Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)
  • The New "Big Plan" for Nature – What Does It Mean for Business?: Jane Smart, Director of Biodiversity Conservation Group, IUCN
  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Implications for Business: Joshua Bishop, Chief Economist, IUCN
  • WBCSD Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation: James Griffiths, Managing Director, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Presentations are available to download. For more information please contact Shulamit Alony.

 


This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.