Tag Archive for: Community of Practice

Call for partners! We are excited to announce our first sector-specific community of practice focused on transitioning Ireland’s energy sector to a nature-positive future.

Since we started work on the Business For Biodiversity Ireland platform, we have identified the need to convene and facilitate meaningful conversations at sector level. We initially formed a multi-sector community of practice so we could explore the prevailing frameworks with a variety of businesses in the Irish context. The next phase of this work is the development of sector-specific communities of practice (SSCoP), starting by bringing together stakeholders in the energy sector.

Why energy?
The energy sector is a high-impact sector, has varied and significant impacts on the natural world and these impacts present risks to businesses and the economy. Equally, this sector has massive potential to activate positive impacts on biodiversity.

Understanding the energy sector’s impacts and dependencies on nature will help inform biodiversity strategies into the future. As well as direct operations, value chain impacts must be fully explored so that nature can be included in business decision-making.

The aim of these discussion- and action-focussed SSCoPs is to convene all actors and stakeholders within a sector and collectively forge a path forward to a nature positive future and will comprise private and semi-state organisations, experts, researchers and academics.

We encourage all partners within the SSCoPs to share their own experiences and knowledge freely, innovate new solutions and work together to help define best practice in an Irish context, taking positive steps towards systemic change within their sector.

Transitioning to a nature-positive mode of operating will be a gradual process that will be in a near constant state of evolution. The SSCoP will convene in-person, three times per year. At the end of each annual cycle, we will produce a set of guidelines for the sector. 

We believe that collective thinking and collective action will produce the most successful outcomes for people, nature and climate.

You can find out more about the commitment and apply here – Nature Positive Energy Community of Practice – https://businessforbiodiversity.ie/energy-sscop/

The Business for Biodiversity Ireland platform is calling on Irish businesses of every size and sector to come together to accelerate action for nature by signing up to our members’ hub today.

Our Government-backed national platform has a new membership function – free until March 31st, 2024 – which includes an easy-to-follow roadmap which aims to demystify the multitude of biodiversity frameworks, guidance documents and tools for businesses facing new legislation on reporting impacts on nature.

With biodiversity – the variety of all living things – in sharp decline globally and nature restoration linked to the fight against climate change, EU legislation such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive requires businesses to report their impacts on the environment.

With increasing consumer demand and awareness of environmental issues also, more and more businesses are keen to transition their business model to Nature Positive, a mode of operation where business activities do not contribute to ecological harm but actively seek to support nature restoration. However, there is still much uncertainty around how to get started on this.

Business For Biodiversity Ireland offers members guidance documents, aligned to prevailing frameworks and emerging directives, along with short thematic videos, case studies, a calendar of informative events and a quarterly forum to exchange knowledge, share challenges and work together to progress their journey.

The platform has been jointly seed-funded by the National Parks & Wildlife Service/ Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, and has developed its network with feedback from pilot businesses in its Community of Practice, including An Post, Bank of Ireland, Bus Eireann, ESB, Glenveagh Homes and SAP Landscapes, with support from the National Biodiversity Data Centre and Business in the Community Ireland.

Speaking at BFBI’s recent Community of Practice workshop and launch event in Portlaoise’s Midlands Park Hotel, Bus Éireann’s Sustainability Senior Manager Emer Bambrick said:

“Our participation in the platform has greatly increased our understanding of Bus Éireann’s biodiversity-related risks and opportunities and helped to increase our alignment with global and national biodiversity goals and disclosure frameworks.”

At the launch of the membership call, BFBI platform lead Lucy Gaffney said: “Nature positive is not a destination, it is a mindset – a way of working that ensures economic activity no longer harms the natural world but actively invests in its stewardship, protection and restoration.”

Free membership of the Business For Biodiversity Ireland platform is offered for the first three months of 2024 – you can check out our membership terms and fee scale in our Terms of Reference and sign up HERE.

 

2023 was a big year for biodiversity and another busy year for Business For Biodiversity Ireland – a look back at some of the major moves transforming the landscape for nature at a global and local level…

EU Nature Restoration Law: After tense negotations and votes by MEPs, a landmark deal was finally reached on the Nature Restoration Law by the EU Parliament, European Commissions and EU Council. The law means that every EU country must have restoration measures in place covering 20% of EU land and sea areas by 2030. It will set legally binding targets and requirements for rewetting peatlands (30%, expanding to 40% by 2050) and for bringing ecosystems back into good condition across multiple habitats. In the build up, BFBI backed the Corporate Leaders Group & Business For Nature letter and online campaigns in support of the NRL, while platform lead Lucy Gaffney appeared on the Newstalk Breakfast Business show with Joe Lynam to discuss the importance of the law.

Citizens Assembly on Biodiversity Loss: Lucy Gaffney addressed Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly – the first such national citizens’ assembly anywhere in the world – which wrapped in January 2023 and in June, launched 150 recommendations that have the potential to dramatically transform Ireland’s relationship with the natural environment. The recommendations have since been reviewed and accepted by the government. The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action recommends advancing a referendum on protecting biodiversity, that would see Ireland become the first in the EU to bestow nature with rights.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) – The directive took effect on January 3, 2023, with 18 months for EU countries to integrate it into law. The European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) E4 standard addresses corporate sustainability relating to biodiversity and ecosystems. The aim is to help businesses to understand how they affect nature, positively and negatively, and how to interpret the results of corporate biodiversity action.

Science Based Targets for Nature: Over 80 global NGOs and organisations came together and released the first science-based targets for nature, enabling companies to start taking ambitious and measurable action on both climate and nature.

The High Seas Treaty: After decades of negotiations, countries finally agreed to a treaty to protect the world’s oceans outside national boundaries. It provides a framework for setting up marine protected areas, a crucial step to fulfil aims to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

Regulation on Deforestation-free products: The European Union is stopping imports of commodities and products linked to deforestation. Under a new regulation that entered into force in June 2023, importers of commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa, coffee and rubber “must be able to prove that the products do not come from recently deforested land or have contributed to forest degradation”. This includes products such as chocolate and furniture made from those commodities.

Budget 2024 nature boost: The Irish government announced a new Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund with an unprecedented €3.15billion pledged for nature that will use windfall corporate tax profits to fund commitments to the environment up to 2030.

Bioeconomy Action Plan: Ireland’s first Bioeconomy Action Plan for 2023-2025 was jointly issued by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine and the Department of the Environment, Climate & Communications. It includes 33 actions to accelerate support for the development of Ireland’s bioeconomy to bring sustainable scientific practices, technologies and bio-based innovation and solutions into use on farms and by bio-based industries.

COP28: At the global summit in the United Arab Emirates, world leaders finally agreed to launch the long-awaited fund for loss and damage caused by climate change – and the final text, agreed by almost 200 countries, for the first time includes a goal to move away from fossil fuels.

BFBI Community of Practice (CoP): We convened our community of practice in January 2023. This small, multi-sector CoP, comprising a mixture of Irish semi-state, private and academic organisations, met regularly throughout the year to share feedback on testing frameworks to assess their biodiversity impacts and the challenges of transitioning to a nature-positive mode of operation. We’ll be expanding this work with more sector specialisation in 2024, more details to come.

 

Man in suit with grey hair chats to blonde woman in beige coat in hallway with red carpet and beige walls

Minister of State Malcolm Noonan & BFBI’s Lucy Gaffney chat at SETU policy event

Business For Biodiversity Ireland key presentations & events of 2023

BFBI’s platform lead Lucy Gaffney spoke at several high-profile in-person conferences, as well as webinars and online discussions.

These included the business and biodiversity breakfast at Green Week, the CIEEM Irish Conference on Nature Positive, major annual conference Environment Ireland 2023 and she also addressed the Business Post’s ESG Summit.

Lucy also gave an overview of natural capital concepts for Chartered Accountants Ireland, joined a panel for Sustainability Week and took part in a Policy Forum for Ireland discussion on next steps for climate policy & action. She joined in a discussion on Addressing Biodiversity Loss with Sustainable Finance Solutions, alongside Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan, pictured with Lucy above, at an Irish Research Council-funded SouthEast Technical University Policy Workshop.

Other notable events included the SETAC Europe Conference, a biodiversity literacy Lunch & Learn talk for Irish broadcasters with the Broadcasting Sustainability Network, Climate Finance Week and a DCU Centre for Climate & Society panel discussion. You can watch back the stream, moderated by Dr Diarmuid Torney, DCU School of Law and Government and Co-Director of the Centre for Climate and Society, HERE.

Our team also attended the EU Business & Nature Summit in Milan in October – you can read their key takeaways HERE.

Coming soon – a look ahead at biodiversity trends for 2024 and beyond.

Sign up to our newsletter updates at the bottom of the BFBI homepage HERE.

We were delighted to announce the launch our first community of practice (CoP) in January 2023. This CoP will meet regularly throughout the year and focus on a few key outputs.

Our first CoP is small and multi-sector, comprising a mixture of Irish semi-state, private and academic organisations. The CoP participants share a common interest in learning more about transitioning to a nature-positive mode of operation. They are facing the same challenges and striving to reach similar goals.

Our CoP members are poised to share, contribute and help each other as we navigate this relatively uncharted territory.

The CoP objectives are clear. We aim to:

  • Increase education and awareness of businesses impacts and dependencies on nature within the group
  • Support each other and collaborate effectively
  • Encourage through discussion and sharing
  • Integrate learnings into business strategy and operations

We want to guide each member organisation through the process of assessment, goal setting and business model evolution.

We are looking forward to delving into the different frameworks that will help our members assess their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity.

 

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.