The European Business and Biodiversity (B@B) Platform provides an EU level forum for sustained and strategic dialogue about the links between business and biodiversity. Through three separate thematic workstreams, the Platform delivers tangible results by working with business to develop tools and approaches that integrate biodiversity considerations into business practice. The B@B Platform also helps to coordinate and to raise awareness of innovative national and international initiatives, and showcase business best practices at EU level. Look at the different types of memberships and the multiple benefits you can reap from the B@B Platform.
Natural Capital Accounting
Innovation for Biodiversity and Business
Access to Finance and Innovative Finance Mechanisms
More than 120 businesses, public institutions and NGOs from twelve countries attended the Third Annual Conference of the EU B@B Platform on 23 November 2016 in The Hague. The Conference took stock of the progress achieved by the member of the EU B@B Platform over last years. It was looking into the future challenges that the EU B@B Platform could help to tackle over the next three years in cooperation and complementing other national and international platforms like the Natural Capital Coalition. More than 20 speakers inspired the audience with new results and examples of the crucial role of the private sector to preserve biodiversity and natural capital. An executive summary of the content of presentations and their slides are now available online. Look to the Third Annual Conference page for more info.
The 2016 Natural Capital Accounting workstream presented its results during the Third Annual Conference of the EU B@B Platform in The Hague on 23 November 2016. The final report, now available online, provides an overview of the concept of ‘Net Impact’ and its extensive links with Natural Capital Accounting and wider sustainability concepts such as the circular economy and green infrastructure. ‘Net Impact’ is also considered in relation to its relevance at company, product and site/project level, as well as from a business, government and financial institution perspective. The report finds that there are considerable potential advantages for businesses and global sustainability if net impact approaches become more widely adopted.
See the NCA workstream page to see the full details of the work carried out in 2016.
Endorsed by both governments and civil society, IUCN World Congress decisions likely reflect future trends for biodiversity conservation in regulation and safeguards, and in societal expectations. A new Industry Briefing Note by TBC gets to grips with the far-reaching implications of the Congress.
Collectively, the decisions further strengthen the business case for effective biodiversity management – pointing to the need for leading businesses to focus on continuous improvement, and for lagging ones to adopt at least the basic elements of good practice.
The European Commission is proud to officially announce the launch of the EU Community of Practice for Finance and Biodiversity (EU CoP F@B). As emphasised in its Mission Statement, the EU CoP F@B will serve as a forum of dialogue between financial institutions (FIs) to share experiences, raise awareness and promote best practices at EU level on how to integrate biodiversity and natural capital into mainstream financial activities and foster investments in natural capital as a new asset class. A range of FIs and organisations have already joined this CoP. Financial institutions interested in joining the EU CoP F@B can contact Lars Müller (firstname.lastname@example.org).
See the Finance workstream for more information.
The findings of the Innovation workstream’s work in 2016 are now available online in the form of four Discussion Papers. These papers consider enabling actions for four promising areas of innovation: (1) Information and reporting systems for disclosure by businesses of their impacts on nature; (2) Natural capital accounting and mapping tools that support business decision-making relating to land management; (3) Temporary Nature; (4) Reed bed harvesting for biofuel and to enhance wetland biodiversity. The papers will be of interest to a wide range of businesses that may benefit from these innovations.
See the Innovation workstream for more information.
The Council of the European Union, gathered on 17 October 2016 in Luxembourg under Slovak Presidency, officially recognised the Natural Capital Protocol in the Outcome of the Council meeting. In its conclusions, the Council “considers that mainstreaming biodiversity provides new opportunities for all economic sectors, including the private sector (…); and calls on the business sector to increase its involvement in and contribution to achieving both the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the biodiversity-related Sustainable Development Goals, and to analyse and invest in improvements and report on their impacts, actions and investments related to biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides, sharing experiences and best practices, e.g. in the framework of Business and Biodiversity Platforms as well as other initiatives, such as the Natural Capital Protocol”. This is an important step for the Natural Capital Coalition in gaining recognition and support globally.
The EU research and innovation framework programme Horizon 2020 is available for companies engaging in natural capital and biodiversity innovation, by addressing their research, coordination and support needs. There is a broad portfolio companies interested in natural capital and biodiversity can use:
See the full news for more info.
Between 2014 and 2016, a group of 15 financial organisations were brought together in the Netherlands to learn about the relationship between investments and natural capital. This publication is the result of close collaboration and inspiring discussions between finance frontrunners who are convinced of the need to deeply transform the finance sector and bring sustainable financing at an upper ‘critical mass’ level.
The Mexican Alliance for Biodiversity and Business was launched 17 October 2016 in Mexico City with the aim of promoting the protection, conservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems. The initiative, comprising 15 institutions and 12 companies, will seek to generate constructive dialogue between conservation organizations, cooperation agencies, institutions and businesses to develop investment mechanisms and projects to protect natural resources and ecosystems, and foster their integration into the business strategy of businesses. This announcement is especially timely as Mexico is hosting the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Cancun between 2 and 17 December 2016 and, as a parallel event, the 2016 Business and Biodiversity Forum on 2 to 3 December 2016.
Join now! The Convention on Biological Diversity calls upon businesses worldwide to sign a two-page "Business and Biodiversity Pledge". Since you are engaged on Business and Biodiversity you may be interested to express your support and sign the pledge.
Become a signatory yourself or help to disseminate the pledge among other institutions, your customers, suppliers, and other business partners. The pledge can be found under the following link: https://www.cbd.int/doc/notifications/2016/ntf-2016-119-business-en.pdf
CDSB recently launched a handbook which offers companies ideas about what reporting environmental information under the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive could look like in practice. The handbook uses real-life examples of annual reports to demonstrate reporting under each requirement of Directive and to show what constitutes good practice. Download the handbook here. CDSB and CDP hosted a webinar to discuss some of the examples in the handbook. If you missed it, you can watch the recording here.
WBCSD recently launched an online, free training course on Natural Infrastructure for Business (NI4Biz). Targeting a business audience, this course aims to raise business awareness on the multiple benefits of natural infrastructure projects, leading to increased investments in nature-based solutions that are good for business, society and the environment. The course consists of freely available training material and is designed as an interactive workshop including group exercises and facilitated discussions.
While the Natural Capital Protocol has been pilot-tested and released, “there still is some way to go to make natural capital assessment practical for business and for it to result it meaningful change for the environment” a recent article by Gemma Cranston, Acting Director at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), says. The next step therefore includes the implementation of the Protocol Application Program, which CISL will be leading on behalf of the Natural Capital Coalition. This phase will consist in a business engagement process to explore the impacts and outcomes resulting from business using the Protocol.
The Natural Capital Coalition, the Natural Capital Finance Alliance (NCFA) (formerly the Natural Capital Declaration) and the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) have agreed to jointly produce a Finance Sector Supplement to the Natural Capital Protocol. The Supplement will provide financial institutions (asset owners, asset managers, banks, insurance companies) with guidance on how to incorporate natural capital impacts and dependencies into their lending, investment and insurance practices and processes. See press release.
A consultation on the Finance Sector Supplement is now open and will run from 14 November 2016 to 9 December 2016. The feedback from this consultation will be used to inform the structure and content of the Finance Sector Supplement. The Supplement will start to be drafted in early 2017 and stakeholders will be formally consulted on the Supplement in the period April to June 2017. To provide feedback during this consultation period please complete the survey.
Key forthcoming events:
In the context of COP 13 Conference in Cancún (Mexico), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, KfW and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) organises a side-event entitled “Small Island Developing States: Scaling up Marine Conservation and Climate Change Adaptation Through Innovative Finance Mechanisms”. The event will present KfW and TNC’s innovative financial tools for countries facing high public debt that help redirect funds to biodiversity protection and climate change adaptation. It will draw Aon recent experiences with a debt-for-nature program in the Seychelles. The event will take place in the Youth Group Meeting Room - Sunrise Building, 2nd Floor on Friday, 9th of December 2016 at 6:15pm.
The CBD Business and Biodiversity Forum will take place in Cancun, Mexico on 2-3 December 2016 immediately prior to the start of the thirteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the CBD, which will be taking place on 4–17 December 2016. The Forum will run in parallel with the Ministerial High-Level Segment of the COP. Interactive panel discussions are planned on topics very similar to the ones tackled by the EU B@B Platform including financing; Natural Capital Accounting; supply chains and sustainable production and consumption; climate, biodiversity and business; access and benefits sharing; and partnerships and other innovative approaches for biodiversity conservation).
Registrations to the Forum are now open! In case your company is planning to attend the CBD Business and Biodiversity Forum, the European Commission would welcome your notification in order to facilitate synergies and enhance the visibility of EU businesses in this global forum. This can be done through a brief email in to Lars Müller and Yann Verstraeten.
EKLIPSE, EPBRS and BiodivERsA are jointly organising a foresight workshop in Brussels on 6-7 December 2016 on “Social Innovation and Nature-Based Solutions: What research is needed to face future societal challenges and emerging issues?”
The aim of this participatory workshop will be to explore how nature-based solutions (NBS) can be a response to, or a catalyst for, social innovation to address emerging issues in relation to : human well-being and health, governance strategies, assessment of multiple benefits (environmental, social and economic), mainstreaming NBS in land planning and management, restoration, and NBS and digital new technologies. Registration and information online.
With the support of the EU-funded project NCPs CaRE, DG Research and Innovation is organising an Information and Brokerage Event for the 2017 Horizon 2020 calls on demonstration projects related to: Nature-based solutions for inclusive urban regeneration; Heritage-led rural regeneration; and Nature–based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk reduction.
Register until 21 November 2016! More info online.
The section “Future events and workshops” of the B@B Platform has been updated with a series of key events happening in the coming months!
“Money Talks” is a user-friendly toolkit released by the insurance company, Aviva, setting out ideas to policymakers and practitioners for how to best create the change we need to catalyse and scale a sustainable financial sector. This toolkit shows there are concrete steps we can take now to address some of the major barriers and foster sustainability in the financial sector. In this toolkit, you will also find an interactive map of Europe’s capital markets that allows you to explore the key actors within financial markets and barriers to sustainability.
LIFE Certification is a practical tool to recognise organisations engaged on biodiversity and ecosystem services conservation. Launched in 2009, LIFE developed a unique quantitative assessment methodology that measures, monitors and compares organisations – from any size and any sector - on a single scale, in relation to their biodiversity impact and/or their biodiversity performance. This methodology has recently been revised after a long-lasting review which started in 2014 and involved academics, businesses, auditors, and certification experts. LIFE Initiative has the recognition of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. LIFE Certification scheme is operational in Brazil and Paraguay and on international expansion process in other Latin American countries. For more information click here.
What do companies have to do with biodiversity and how should they get involved? The German Platform “Biodiversity in Good Company” just released the "Basic knowledge: companies and biodiversity", a series a series of short, cross-industry information modules for companies interested in finding out more on this topic. The modules offer very helpful guidance, suggestions and multiple advice, helpful not only for large, but also smaller businesses.
A new tool for financial institutions to incorporate water risk in corporate bond credit risk analysis shows that several beverages, mining and power companies are significantly exposed to water stress. This tool was developed by the Natural Capital Declaration, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the German Association for Environmental Management and Sustainability in Financial Institutions (VfU) in response to growing demand for analytics to integrate water risk factors into investment analytics. Seven financial institutions from Europe and the Americas - UBS, Robeco, Calvert Investments, Pax World, J Safra Sarasin, Banorte and Bancolombia – took part in the tool’s development. Visit VfU website for more info.
The success of business will increasingly depend on how well they understand and manage their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and ecological systems. In turn, how a business manages this dependency is becoming more material to investor decision-making.
Last year, CDSB published their Framework for reporting environmental information & natural capital which is designed to help organizations prepare and present environmental information, including biodiversity, in mainstream reports. Its aim is to achieve a shift in corporate behaviour to preserve and enhance, rather than deplete the earth’s natural capital.
The EU B@B Platform website is currently undergoing some changes and will soon be updated with new information.
For information concerning the EU B@B Platform, please contact the EU B@B Platform team: Lars.MUELLER@ec.europa.eu or Jerome.Kisielewicz@icf.com.