23 Jul 2010

The business of biodiversity conservation

By Rory Mccann

The first Global Business of Biodiversity symposium (GBOB) held earlier this month highlighted the need to make biodiversity conservation the business of every business. The symposium, at which BirdLife International was an event sponsor, joined together a wide array of high-profile businesses with government departments and environmental organisations. “Consideration of sustainability must become mainstream in all sectors of society. I think we are now starting to see a growing trend towards business reputations, best practices and the economic bottom line being linked to how effectively they incorporate biodiversity into their agendas”, said Ade Long, BirdLife’s Head of Communications, who attended the event. At the symposium BirdLife held a master class showcasing our work with CEMEX and Rio Tinto on aspects of strategic partnership development, looking at frameworks of biodiversity risk and opportunity assessment. BirdLife and CEMEX are three years into a 10-year global agreement with part of the work to refine CEMEX’s biodiversity-related strategies, policies, and practices. BirdLife are also advising CEMEX on how to implement conservation projects at operational sites. The Biodiversity Scoping Study prioritizes CEMEX sites in terms of biodiversity sensitivity and opportunity, and is the cornerstone of their biodiversity strategy. “The master class led on to a thorough and insightful discussion on the integration of biodiversity into standard business practice through a process of strategic partnership, and on how such relationships can be developed, maintained and managed” commented Jonathan Stacey, Programme Manager for the Rio Tinto-BirdLife International Programme and organiser of the BirdLife session. “This symposium is a key milestone in the developing integration of business and biodiversity values, indicating a recognition that biodiversity has a crucial role to play in the economics and practice of sustainablilty for the business sector. ” Stacey added.