Story | 20 Jul, 2020

New IUCN paper examines key success factors for building effective business platforms

To accelerate meaningful conservation action and partnerships with the private sector, a new paper published today examines the key success factors and challenges across nine IUCN-backed business and biodiversity platforms.

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Photo: IUCN India

The private sector has a critical role to play in determining how nature is valued, used, conserved and restored, and it can help lead the way on sustainable development through innovation, influence and outreach, according to IUCN’s Nadine McCormick, who commissioned the study.

“Business platforms can be effective mechanisms to help companies understand their impact and dependencies on nature as well as accelerate meaningful conservation action and partnerships,” said Ms McCormick“By providing a safe space for exchange with like-minded peers in the business and conservation community, this paper shows that such platforms can strengthen collective learning and the uptake of best practices.”

IUCN has found that at the early stages of a company’s sustainability journey, the barriers to taking action tend to be more at an individual company level. For example, some of the concepts, such as natural capital, may not fully resonate with business or they may be considered too complex. By working together on common issues, business and biodiversity platforms can help companies identify relevant tools and data to inform their decision-making.

In a recent webinar, the lead author of the paper, Hélène Marre, shared some of the key elements of effective business and biodiversity platforms. From establishing common objectives and governance structures to ensuring sufficient funding and membership engagement – all of these elements are important to ensure successful outcomes, she said. 

The paper, Advancing action on nature through business platforms: Selected case studies, provides key lessons from nine IUCN-backed platforms in three different regions, noting the key elements for success and challenges during the early years, when they were striving to become operational, and in the later years, once they are established.  While all of the case studies are unique, the paper notes that business and biodiversity platforms are just one solution among many that can enable sustainable business action, and they should never be used as an opportunity for greenwashing.

The study was commissioned by the IUCN BioBiz Exchange, an initiative funded by the French Development Agency (AfD). It aims to empower the conservation community to engage with business and help transform its practices related to nature and people.

*The paper is based on input from nine business and biodiversity platforms: five in Asia – B-DNA in Thailand, Biodiversity Sri Lanka, Ha Long Bay Cat Ba Alliance in Viet Nam, Karachi Conservation in Pakistan and Leaders for Nature India; two in Africa – the Businesses in Environmental Stewardship Network – BESNet in Ghana and the National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN) in South Africa; and two in Europe – the Entreprises et Biodiversite in France and former Leaders for Nature programme in the Netherlands.