The private sector is one of the key stakeholders in conserving biodiversity. Countries set business and biodiversity platforms and encourage businesses to join them and contribute to the protection of our natural heritage. In addition to platforms, many other initiatives, projects, fora, roundtables and learning sessions are organized around the world to encourage engagement of the private sector. All of these initiatives appeal to companies asking to participate and "do something" for biodiversity and nature conservation.
Yet, companies are rather confused by this variety and a common question in boardrooms nowadays is how many fora as such a company has to join. Naturally, joining one or more of these, if taken seriously, requires resources and man power.
Therefore, the involvement of associations including umbrella organizations through platforms is important, in particular to SMEs that more often than not are not able to join all initiatives and carry the load of their participation.
The variety of available fora raises the question of cooperation between the different platforms and possible coordination within the European Commission as well as how the work could be defined and clarified to avoid overlap, duplicate efforts and waste of resources between and among the platforms.
The concept of business and biodiversity needs to be developed in a way that both the private sector and the environment can benefit. The combination of business and biodiversity needs to become a common practice for the private sector and undoubtedly a part of the business model of every company regardless of its type, size and geographical location.
Understanding policymakers' role and their level of involvement in this process is also important, in particular since the business sector would like to see policymakers around the table along with NGOs and business representatives.
National platforms give businesses the opportunities and the benefits of being involved in the framework of national legislation, taking into account local economic, social and environmental situations, not forgetting the advantage of communicating and sharing information in the local language. The added value at the regional level is to participate in the EU Business and Biodiversity Platform, where more strategic issues can be discussed in a European context. Platforms provide companies prospects for long-term development and contribute to creating a framework mechanism supporting biodiversity protection and the sustainable use of ecosystem services.
This article is part of the eighth Newsletter by the EU Business @ Biodiversity Platform. To read the full newsletter, click here.