Today, businesses are facing a number of challenges that are directly linked to nature, which in turn impacts their bottom line. These issues include water scarcity, climate change, habitat change, biodiversity loss and invasive species, overexploitation of oceans and nutrient overloading.
The impacts of business on biodiversity also pose a number of risks to a company's performance, including in the following areas:
- Operational: increased scarcity and cost of raw materials such as freshwater; disruptions to business operations caused by natural hazards; and higher insurance costs for natural disasters.
- Market: customers switching to sustainably sourced or certified products and governments implementing new sustainable procurement policies.
- Regulatory: emergence of new government policies such as taxes and moratoria on extractive activities.
- Reputational: damage to corporate reputation from media and NGO campaigns, shareholder resolutions and changing customer preferences.
- Access to capital: restrictions as the financial community adopts more rigorous investment and lending policies.
Despite these risks, many companies fail to recognize the link between healthy ecosystems and their organization’s interests. While some companies have taken steps to address their environmental impacts, most are not fully aware of their dependence on ecosystem services and the possible business implications of degraded services.
How can business benefit from working with IUCN?
Growing awareness of these impacts and dependencies is leading many companies to measure and manage the risks, and to engage in mitigation, offsetting and sustainable use approaches.
Businesses increasingly recognize the opportunities that exist in the development of new biodiversity‐friendly markets, sustainable technologies and business models.
By working with IUCN, businesses can take steps to reduce their environmental footprint and generate a number of benefits, such as:
- Increase revenue by responding to an increased consumers’ demand for responsible products
- Enhance their license to operate by addressing civil society’s concerns at local and global levels
- Preserve natural capital, including the capacity to provide ecosystem services
- Attract and retain talented staff/people by increasing the environmental credentials and values of the company
- Improve the quality of their products and services
- Pre-empt regulations and public pressure
- Achieve greater efficiences and cost savings
- Improve access to financial capital