The impact of the private sector on the environment can be very detrimental. Getting companies on board with conservation organisations is crucial to try and reduce this impact and improve the status of species and habitats in Europe. A number of initiatives have been developed to help businesses become greener. A comprehensive European accreditation scheme for companies is now being discussed.
ECNC, European Centre for Nature Conservation together with biodiversity specialist Middlemarch Environmental Ltd have developed an assessment scheme for businesses to determine their biodiversity impact, and improve their environmental performance. The company participating in the scheme which will show real commitment to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development will be awarded with the European Biodiversity Standard for a period of two years (with possibility of renewal).
The Global Nature Fund and partners have developed a similar initiative within the European Business and Biodiversity Campaign (EBBC) through an assessment called the Biodiversity Check.
A meeting facilitated by the IUCN Regional Office for Europe has recently taken place at the premises of ECNC in Tilburg, Netherlands to align the two abovementioned approaches and develop collaboration among the various actors. The IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands, Middlemarch and Triple E, a Dutch partner in the EBBC, also participated in the meeting. Further talks will take place to find a way to link the two approaches with the aim to offer a comprehensive scheme to the business community in Europe.
This European biodiversity accreditation scheme would be part of a global standard to be developed in the years to come, and it would complement and build on the Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation released by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in April this year. The guide, which was developed in partnership with IUCN and others, provides an innovative framework designed to enhance business understanding of the benefits and value of ecosystem services like fresh water, food, fibre and natural hazard protection. The guide was presented in the Netherlands during a master class organised by IUCN National Committees of the Netherlands’ Leaders for Nature.
The IUCN Regional Office for Europe is engaged with businesses through a number of initiatives, including the EU Business @ Biodiversity Platform. IUCN will be fully engaged in the process of exploring possibilities to develop a comprehensive accreditation scheme and will closely cooperate with the Members and partners involved. ECNC is a Member of IUCN and GNF is the process of applying for membership.
More information will be posted on this website in due time.