As the EU B@B Platform gets to its third and last year of activity, a workshop organised by the European Commission's DG Environment addressed the future of the Platform and cooperation with similar national initiatives.
On 22 March, Pia Bucella, Director of Nature, Biodiversity and Land use at the European Commission (EC) opened the event attended by around 50 representatives of companies, NGOs and Member States by stressing on the importance of businesses being part of the biodiversity policy agenda.
Francois Wakenhut, Head of Biodiversity at the EC stated: “The EU B@B Platform is a great tool for the Commission to connect with the private sector in delivering on the EU Biodiversity Strategy targets and actions. Building on this and the lessons we have learnt after almost 3 years of the initiative, we are looking into options for expanding it in the future by attracting more partners from the business sector and mobilizing small and medium enterprises to join the process”.
A number of national Business and Biodiversity initiatives were presented during the meeting. Among them there were the German Biodiversity in Good Company initiative, the Nordic Council platform comprising Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, the UK and Belgian national platforms, as well as the Leaders for Nature initiative of the IUCN National Committee in The Netherlands. Synergies with those initiatives were central to the discussions on the future of the EU B@B Platform.
Hans Friederich, IUCN Regional Director for Europe said "IUCN Europe has identified working with the private sector on biodiversity and ecosystem management challenges as one of its priority targets. The EU B@B Platform has helped IUCN to establish solid ties with a number of companies in West Europe. We intend to continue engaging the private sector in biodiversity issues, and we plan to expand the number of relationships. We realise there is also great potential to expand this work to East Europe."
An electronic questionnaire will be forwarded to the Platform participants in order to determine the most appropriate setup for the future initiative and how it could best fit the participants’ wishes and needs.
The EU Business @ Biodiversity Platform was launched by the EC following up on the Lisbon High-level Conference on Business and Biodiversity held in November 2007 and as a part of the Business and Biodiversity Initiative.
A number of studies and reports have been produced by the Platform with the aim of identifying and sharing best practices on the business contribution to biodiversity conservation. You can read more on the B@B website and on the Achievements page. The Platform has recently launched a publication compiling case studies from the private sector. See here.