Tag Archive for: business

The Science Based Targets Network has released the first science-based targets for nature enabling companies to start taking ambitious and measurable action on both climate and nature. 

Over 80 global NGOs and organisations came together with the aim to provide companies with the initial methods, tools and guidance to equip them to holistically assess their environmental impacts, and prepare to set targets to address them, beginning with freshwater and land, alongside climate. The first release of targets for nature also directly supports biodiversity, ensuring that companies contribute to the preservation and restoration of ecosystems.

Net zero is not possible without nature

Erin Billman, Executive Director, SBTN, said: “We have designed the guidance to build on companies’ existing sustainability strategies and have proactively aligned with existing and upcoming standards and frameworks – including the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) risk management and disclosure beta framework.

“It also draws on, and aligns with the best available science – including collaborating with the Earth Commission on their work to define a safe and just corridor for humanity, to be published on May 31, 2023. To achieve the optimal balance between scientific rigor and feasibility, the guidance has also been road-tested by over 115 companies from over 25 countries and representing over $4trillion in market capitalisation.

“While climate change has become a key focus of many companies’ sustainability strategies, there is now clear scientific evidence that net zero is not possible without nature.”

Learn more at the Science-based Targets Network.

 

Day 2 of the Business and Biodiversity forum of COP15 in Montreal – and a long day of sessions and panel discussions about the role of government got me thinking. The #MakeitMandatory campaign focuses on Target 15 of the Global Biodiversity Framework and creating a driver from government level to mandate the assessment and disclosure of nature-related risks for all businesses.

How will businesses feel about this? Will these regulations be met with contempt?

It is my view, having run my own business for 15 years, that businesses won’t mobilise unless they have to. We need to discover the key that will unlock that motivation. I’m not sure that top-down government-mandated requirements alone will be enough.

The Irish government declared a biodiversity emergency in 2019. But it doesn’t really feel like we’re in a state of emergency. Most people are simply unaware of the deteriorating situation, or if they are, they feel powerless to address it.

The Irish government needs to treat this issue like the emergency that it is and invest money in enhancing awareness in the general public, much like they did for COVID-19 or how they create awareness about an upcoming referendum or census. 

 

We need a broad, mainstreamed advertising and awareness campaign, run on TV, radio, social media and print media to inform the public and mobilise their inherent power to catalyse change.

 

The people of Ireland need to understand their role in this crisis. We consume irresponsibly, but we don’t realise it. An awareness campaign would help create a bottom-up driver from consumer level. A demand for change. A demand for more responsible business, more nature-friendly products.

How would businesses feel about this? Will these consumer demands be met with respect? With urgency? Knowing that if products and services don’t align with evolving consumer sentiment, can the business expect to survive? Or go extinct?

The top-down regulation from government and the bottom-up change in consumer demand will create a space in between. And this is where the magic happens.

 

Lucy Gaffney – Business for Biodiversity Ireland

COP15 in under way in Montreal, Canada and Ireland has sent a delegation to attend these negotiations that will hopefully deliver a plan to address global biodiversity loss.

The talks are centred around the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) which consists of 21 targets that will not only support the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but will serve to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.

We have eight years to halt the destruction of our natural world or it might reach a state where is becomes beyond repair. So why is COP15 and the GBF important for business in Ireland?

Of the 21 GBF targets, the business community should be tuned into two specifically:


Target 15: All businesses (public and private, large, medium and small) assess and report on their dependencies and impacts on biodiversity, from local to global, and progressively reduce negative impacts, by at least half and increase positive impacts, reducing biodiversity-related risks to businesses and moving towards the full sustainability of extraction and production practices, sourcing and supply chains, and use and disposal.

This essentially means that all Irish businesses, from your local hairdresser to global multinationals operating within the state will now have to understand how their actions and activities impact on nature. How do they contribute to pollution? How are they using land? Does the business contribute to or facilitate the introduction of invasive species? What is their contribution to climate change? Does the business drive the over-exploitation of natural resources?

They will also have to appreciate how their business depends on the natural world, and how the degradation of nature may pose risks to their ability to continue operating. Furthermore, Irish businesses will be expected to develop a strategy and action plan to reduce their negative impacts by half and start the healing process by investing in nature restoration.

Target 18: Redirect, repurpose, reform or eliminate incentives harmful for biodiversity, in a just and equitable way, reducing them by at least US$500billion per year, including all of the most harmful subsidies, and ensure that incentives, including public and private economic and regulatory incentives, are either positive or neutral for biodiversity.

In 2019, the Irish Government spent €4.1bn on environmentally damaging subsidies (Lee, 2019). These included subsidising the use of fossil fuels to the tune of €2.5bn, and €1.5bn to support agricultural activities that could cause significant environmental damage.

For example, rather than providing low income households with fossil fuel subsidies, that money would be much better spent retrofitting older properties to become more energy efficient. Most of the environmentally damaging subsidies are disguised as zero or low tax rates which incentivise the use of a potentially damaging commodity like chemical fertilisers.

Follow our various social media channels for more updates from COP15, its outcomes and aftermath.

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After a phenomenal week in Brussels as co-hosts of the European Business and Nature Summit (EBNS), I noted that there was a distinct lack of attendance by the Small-to-Medium Enterprise (SME) community, despite having numerous sessions dedicated to them. Why is that?

Having previously run an SME myself, I know only too well that engaging with something like EBNS is incredibly challenging for an SME. The day-to-day work of an SME is ever-changing, dynamic and all-consuming. How can an SME possibly undertake any more challenging, seemingly external problems, like becoming nature-positive? My view is that SMEs won’t truly mobilise until they have to. Regulation and mandatory disclosure is the only way that we can push this sector of the economy forward, but it needs to be simple, a word that is not typically associated with nature and biodiversity.

SMEs often feel like this kind of work is only relevant to large corporations and that their relative impact is small and insignificant. This is something that those of us working in this space need to demystify. SMEs have a massive collective impact and like everyone else, they too need to assess their impact on nature and try to minimise it. It is estimated that around 60-70% of environmental impact comes from the SME sector. (Marshall Report)

To have any chance of making progress SMEs need a few key things. Regulation, funding, education and long-term support. There is a significant awareness and education gap within business that needs to be addressed quickly. SMEs need to build their own capacity to manage these new business strategies that we are expecting them to produce. Most will probably need external expertise and that costs money. Should we employ a “Robin Hood” style approach to mobilising SMEs? Where larger corporations fund the SMEs in their value chain to help them become more nature-positive. Or should this kind of support come from government or local authorities?

Either way, for SMEs to mobilise for climate or nature, they need:

  • Awareness & understanding of the issues
  • Additional financial support to help them develop & action environmental strategies
  • Long-term support to enable them to continue to operate in an ever-changing economy

More than that, real change will only be triggered with regulation. And that needs to happen quickly.

 

What is a community of practice?

A community of practice is a group of people who share a common concern, are facing similar issues, or are striving to reach similar goals.

 

Participation in a community of practice is voluntary. Members should feel free to share their experiences and knowledge in free-flowing discussions, ask questions of one another, foster new approaches to problems, and work together to define best practices. 

 

Background

Lave and Wenger first coined the term, ‘community of practice’ in Situated Learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. The authors proposed that learning is fundamentally a social process and that communities create the social fabric necessary for collective learning. According to Wenger (1998), communities of practice provide five critical functions:

  • Educate by collecting and sharing information related to questions and issues of practice.
  • Support by organizing interactions and collaboration among members.
  • Cultivate by assisting groups to start and sustain their learning.
  • Encourage by promoting the work of members through discussion and sharing.
  • Integrate by encouraging members to use their new knowledge for real change in their own work.

 

Harvard Business Review describes communities of practice as the ‘hidden fountainhead of knowledge development and therefore the key to the challenge of the knowledge economy’. 

 

Our communities

The Business for Biodiversity platform is setting up multi-sector communities of practice, where business leaders can build and share knowledge on how to protect nature and promote biodiversity. The platform will provide infrastructure, coordination and support for each community, while the knowledge, agenda and outcomes will be driven by the members.

Registration is now open for the European Business & Nature Summit, co-hosted by Business For Biodiversity Ireland with the EU Business @ Biodiversity Platform in Brussels this October. A number of high-profile speakers have been announced.

Orange card with headshots of various speakers

The European Commission-backed event, taking place at The Egg venue on October 18-19th, will also be livestreamed. The two days will feature high-level political round tables and thematic practical workshops and side events to help businesses on their journey to ASSESS, COMMIT, TRANSFORM and DISCLOSE their relationship with nature.

The 2022 summit will be an important milestone in the road to Phase 2 of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) later this year. Business For Biodiversity Ireland is delighted to contribute to strengthening Europe’s growing Business for Biodiversity movement. The event aims to help our business community shape and prepare for the imminent transformative shift toward a nature-positive business model.

Speakers announced include:

  • Moderator Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director for Natural Capital, DG Environment
  • Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director-General, Environment Department, European Commission
  • Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary, IPBES
  • Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, EC
  • Richard Mattison, CEO, S&P Global Trucost
  • And many more sustainability & business experts.

Business For Biodiversity Ireland Platform Lead Lucy Gaffney said: “In a world suffering drastic biodiversity loss, ‘business as usual’ is no longer acceptable. It is only with long-term vision and strong collaboration that we will be able to turn the tide and protect the natural ecosystems on which societies and economies depend.”

Register now for the European Business and Nature Summit and be part of a European movement of corporate leaders taking steps towards integrating biodiversity into their business models, while also addressing its ‘twin’ crisis – climate change.

Check out the programme for more details of agenda and speakers and register on the European Business & Nature Summit website.

#EUBiodiversity #BusinessNatureSummit #EBNS22 #NatureIsEveryonesBusiness #ForNature  #BiodiversityCrisis #JoinTheEvolution #BizBioIrl

Many of us have heard this term “nature positive” used in the context of business and biodiversity, but what does it actually mean?

“Nature positive” does not have an official definition…yet, but a nature-positive business is generally understood to have certain qualities and values.

Nature positive businesses understand how their business operations impact on the environment, and they also understand how they benefit from nature, or how they depend on it, for example, through an ecosystem service like pollination.

Once a business understands their impacts and dependencies, they can transform how they do things to avoid or reduce pressure on the natural world. The impacts may be hidden within their value chain, but a business has the power to switch suppliers and make that shift towards organisations that are more tuned in to their environmental or social impact.

A nature positive business mobilises resources to enhance ecosystems and enrich biodiversity. They can do this by enhancing the natural habitats that occur within their landholding, by working with communities to enrich local ecosystems or by providing funding to NGOs to enable rewilding projects further afield, perhaps in key geographic areas and ecosystems that have high biodiversity value or critical habitats, like the Amazon Rainforest.
Carbon storage is another priority for a nature-positive business. Cutting carbon emissions, protecting natural carbon sinks, and transforming agriculture to enhance sequestration are fundamental ways that businesses can improve their carbon storage capacity.

Respecting the right to safe water means that businesses must be compliant with liquid waste disposal and discharging into rivers and streams.

Experts claim that we may have entered an era of pandemics driven by the anthropogenic degradation of nature and biodiversity. If we are to escape this quagmire of rapidly spreading global diseases, we need an enormous shift towards prevention. It is estimated that there could be another 850,000 undiscovered viruses that could have the ability to jump to human hosts. The way we currently use our land, trade unsustainably, disrupt natural systems, interfere with wild populations of animals paves the road towards increased pandemic risk. This risk is lowered significantly by intercepting the drivers of biodiversity loss.

The cost of inaction is growing exponentially. The longer we leave it, the more it will cost us, financially and in terms of our heath and wellbeing.

Momentum is building and percolating down to businesses of all sizes and across all sectors. The Nature-Positive movement is here, and it will make us stronger, happier, and more resilient.

Join the evolution of business. How can your business become more nature positive?