In recent years, the importance of protecting and conserving biodiversity has become increasingly apparent. As the erosion of biodiversity has progressed, the need to manage the associated impacts and dependencies on nature has become paramount to securing longevity for businesses. As a result, many businesses have recognized the need to incorporate nature-positive strategies into their environmental policies and practices. Nature-positive strategies go beyond the typical "do less harm" approach to actively promote the restoration, conservation, and sustainable use of natural resources. Integrating biodiversity into your planning may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Below we discuss some strategies that businesses can implement at any scale.
1. Assess impacts and dependencies on biodiversity
By understanding the various impacts and dependencies of a company on biodiversity, it becomes easier to identify pain points or areas that a company wishes to focus its energies toward. By setting a baseline implementing change becomes far easier and more focused - you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Assessments such as the WWF Biodiversity Risk Filter, or metrics such as the Global Biodiversity Score, Corporate Biodiversity Footprint, and Product/Site Biodiversity Footprint can be used to identify these areas within your business strategy or supply chain that are of potential concern.
2. Mobilize stakeholders
Achieving investment in nature-positive strategies requires a collective effort. Stakeholders should be mobilized and engaged in the process of setting and achieving targets and goals. By mapping out stakeholder engagement points and engaging with stakeholders through positive dialog, companies can begin to build a robust understanding of stakeholders' needs and wants. For example, a company may want to consider starting constructive dialogue with investors, scientific experts, local governing bodies, local landowners and resource users when considering nature positive biodiversity strategies.
3. Set goals and targets
Setting specific biodiversity goals and targets and making use of existing indicators facilitates identifying areas of improvement, enables progress to be measured, and ultimately allows for positive, achievable change. Using frameworks, such as the soon to be released Science-Based Targets for Nature, allows for standardized and socially aligned targets to be created for your business. It is important to note that targets and goals will change depending on region, industry, and business model as biodiversity is location dependent. By creating tailor-made targets and goals that align with your nature-positive strategies, solutions can be ambitious and achievable for your business.
4. Select the best path to achieve your biodiversity goals
There are many pathways to effectively achieve biodiversity targets and goals including investing in strategies that reduce environmental impact through improved resource use-efficiency, circular waste management, and GHG emissions reduction. Although incredibly important to incorporate into your strategy, solutions to biodiversity loss need additional out of the box strategies to make significant change. These can include supporting impactful in-house or external conservation initiatives and the regeneration of ecosystems to restore ecosystem services, the incorporation of sustainable production methods such as regenerative agriculture and forestry, as well as nature-based solutions such as green infrastructure. All of which can benefit a business’ reputation and improve long-term financial performance.
5. Monitoring and reporting
One of the subtle issues that arises when tackling biodiversity, and sustainability practice in general, is the lack of investment from businesses in actively monitoring and reporting progress. By adequately investing staff, resources, and time into nature-positive projects and transparently reporting on their progress, companies can begin to see real change that is both environmentally and socially impactful. By effectively and transparently monitoring and reporting the progress of a company’s journey to nature-positive, a company takes leaps towards better risk management and increased cost savings as well as generating positive reputational benefits, competitive advantages, and long-term viability.
Developing nature-positive strategies and nature-based solutions should be considered a journey and not a destination. This journey will require constant ambitious goal setting, stakeholder engagement, investment in time and resources and long-term maintenance practices that are scientifically valid and ongoing. No one said that mitigating biodiversity loss would be an easy challenge to tackle and Fresh Coast Climate Solutions has the expertise to support you through your nature positive journey, providing guidance and technical expertise to help reach those ambitious goals.