On 26 June 2017, companies, policy makers and NGOs gathered in Leuven, Belgium for an event on businesses and biodiversity in which Interreg presented the midterm achievements and future plans of the ‘2B Connect’ project. IUCN, together with NGOs and companies, showcased the efforts they are taking to preserve biodiversity with and within business. Sessions focused on constructing temporary nature, ecological gardens and park management, the advantages of green roofs, and the benefits of excursions to learn about nature in urbanised landscapes.
The ‘2B Connect’ project aims to increase biodiversity along the border region between the Netherlands and Belgium by working with companies. The project seeks to generate more biodiversity in these industrial sites, as well as incorporate biodiversity into environmental management systems to ensure long-term commitments to improving biodiversity.
A total of 23 partners are involved in the project including companies, governments and NGOs. The project aims to create ponds, redesign river banks, and plant trees and hedges in 10 locations in the Netherlands and Belgium. It also plans to increase ecological maintenance at industrial sites as well as the construct infrastructure particularly for animals, for example, insect hotels, hibernation roosts for bats and an island for the common tern.
IUCN presented work being undertaken by its Business and Biodiversity Programme highlighting collaborations with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development – which has resulted in a series of outcomes including a stronger presence and voice of business at multilateral environmental negotiations, – the launch of the Natural Capital Protocol under the Natural Capital Coalition as well as the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation (CPIC) launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016.
“The private sector is an important partner in realising biodiversity objectives and industrial sites play a central role in halting biodiversity loss,” said Luc Bas, IUCN Director of European Regional Office.
By applying more nature-friendly maintenance or choosing more ecological designs, companies often experience reduced maintenance costs, better relationships with the local community, and even an increase in property value.
In the upcoming year, 2B Connect will publish a report for companies on the potential advantages and disadvantages of investing in green infrastructure. A tool will also be made to calculate the financial implications of making such changes. The project has already organised two courses on businesses and biodiversity and more courses will follow toward the end of 2017 and throughout 2018. 2B Connect also organises visits to good-practice sites in Belgium and the Netherlands to serve as inspiration to companies.
The Agency for Nature and Forest of the Flemish Ministry of the Environment is a Member of IUCN and involved in the 2B Connect project.
For more information on 2B Connect, visit their website: www.2b-connect.eu.