Business and Biodiversity

Business and Key Biodiversity Areas

On behalf of the Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) Partners, IUCN has released new guidelines for businesses operating in KBAs. The development of these guidelines was made possible with the generous support of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation.
Business operating in KBAs

Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) have then been defined as ‘sites that contribute to the global persistence of biodiversity’, including vital habitat for threatened plant and animal species in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. Read more about what are KBAs and how they are they identified.

Recognising that KBAs often include areas that are commercially productive (e.g. cultivated areas, managed forests, fisheries, mineral sites), it is important that businesses take action to influence how such areas are managed, either directly through their operations or indirectly through their supply chains. When operating in and around, or sourcing from, areas within KBAs (and/or within proximity of KBAs, potentially causing impacts), businesses can benefit from these guidelines to facilitate their management decisions, in order to maintain the biodiversity values for which the KBA has been identified.

Guidelines on Business and KBAs: Managing Risk to Biodiversity have been developed by the KBA Partners, with IUCN leadership, to support businesses in managing risk to biodiversity. These guidelines also build on the input provided by the participants to the End Users Consultation workshop held in Gland, Switzerland, (on 4–5 July 2016), and by the organisations that submitted comments during the public consultation period (from 2 December 2016 to 17 March 2017). The compendium of all the comments received during the public consultation on Draft 2 can be downloaded here.

The guidelines can be of use to business and certification scheme operators, financial institutions, civil society organisations and public authorities in numerous situations, such as:

  • implementing the mitigation hierarchy for managing biodiversity risks associated with operations impacting biodiversity for which the KBA is important;
  • implementing international financial institutions’ safeguards and environmental standards for projects affecting biodiversity for which the KBA is important;
  • designing and reviewing sustainability standards, including for certification systems and project finance;
  • setting the permitting requirements for business operations having a potential impact on biodiversity for which the KBA is important;
  • guiding and informing engagements between civil society organisations and business entities; and
  • public reporting, including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for sustainability reporting.

These guidelines can be applied by businesses of all sizes and in all sectors, and by existing and new businesses having direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on a KBA. They are applicable to the businesses’ entire area of influence, as well as throughout the life cycle of the operation, from pre-feasibility to closure (and, where relevant, site rehabilitation). The guidelines can also be integrated into responsible sourcing policies for goods and services, the production of which could have direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on KBAs.

To support the implementation of the guidelines, a section of the KBA website dedicated to Business and KBAs provides additional information that can make each of the guidelines more actionable. It includes links to existing resources and examples from field projects.

The Tiffany & Co. Foundation supported the development of these guidelines as part of its Responsible Mining Programme. The Foundation values collaboration from civil society to help businesses, certification systems, governments and others define and implement more responsible practices in order to protect KBAs worldwide.


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