Business and Biodiversity


Biodiversity offsets discussion

Who we are

Since its creation in 1948, IUCN has been engaging business to help conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

The IUCN Business and Biodiversity Programme was established in 2003 to influence and support private partners in addressing environmental and social issues. The Programme's work is led by a Business Engagement Strategy, approved by the IUCN Council, to engage the business sectors that have a significant impact on natural resources and livelihoods. These include: large 'footprint' industries such as mining and oil and gas; biodiversity-dependent industries including fishing, agriculture and forestry; and, financial services and “green” enterprises such as organic farming, renewable energy and nature-based tourism.

Globally, the Business and Biodiversity Programme focuses on three key areas of work to drive the changes required to deliver on IUCN’s global conservation and sustainable development goals. These include:

  • Valuing biodiversity
  • Promoting biodiversity net gain
  • Investing in nature

Many businesses rely on natural resources for their production processes and depend on healthy ecosystems to remove waste, and maintain soil, water and air quality. At the same time, businesses can have major negative impacts on biodiversity. While business is part of the problem, it is also part of the solution—it can offer innovative solutions to conservation. By addressing their environmental footprint, companies can open up new opportunities, respond to consumer demand for responsible products, pre-empt new regulations, and save both costs and natural resources.

IUCN seeks to build an action-based relationship with business that goes beyond Corporate Social Responsibility obligations, addressing the root causes of environmental degradation. The Global Business and Biodiversity Programme provides a wide range of expertise. It builds bridges between stakeholders, carries out independent scientific assessments, and develops conservation policy standards and tools. IUCN's Business Engagement Strategy and its related Operational Guidelines help outline and monitor IUCN’s engagements.

IUCN provides knowledge products and tools to help businesses and policy makers adopt practices that conserve nature and generate benefits for people who depend on natural resources. To browse these products and tools, please visit the Business and Biodiversity Programme Resources section.


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