The Forum discussed the connections between biodiversity and ecosystem services and business operations.
Participants suggested that the UNEA take action on creating an enabling environment for mainstreaming biodiversity and sustainability considerations into business operations and models.
16 November 2018: The second Business and Biodiversity Forum, which convened on the sidelines of the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), called for creating an enabling environment for mainstreaming biodiversity and sustainability considerations into business operations and models. The Forum focused on the theme, ‘Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet.’
In an opening address, CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Pasca Palmer underscored the partnership between biodiversity and business as “key to shaping pathways to a sustainable future.” She stressed that unsustainable agricultural and forestry practices continue to drive degradation, habitat destruction and fragmentation, invasive alien species expansion and pollution, resulting in significant economic costs. Pasca Palmer called on businesses to “integrate sustainability into their business models, decision-making, sourcing and production methods,” and emphasized that mainstreaming biodiversity into decision making across economic sectors will be a “foundational element” of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
Forum participants recognized that ongoing loss of ecosystems and biodiversity undermines achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and threatens human well-being. They further recognized an urgent need for increased collective ambition to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, including through the contributions of businesses. Participants noted with appreciation the increasing number of businesses that are committed to deliver contributions to the CBD Strategic Plan and the CBD objectives, as reflected in the global Business and Biodiversity Pledge and national level pledges.
The partnership between biodiversity and business is key to shaping pathways to a sustainable future.
The Forum discussed the connections between biodiversity and ecosystem services and business operations. For example, businesses recognized that moving towards sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns can generate significant benefits for businesses. Participants highlighted the potential to develop financial tools to fund transitions towards SCP in line with SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production). Conversely, businesses recognized that biodiversity loss can negatively impact business operations.
Participants identified a number of opportunities for governments to recognize business realities and create necessary enabling policy and regulatory frameworks to mainstream biodiversity and sustainability considerations into business operations and models. Governments can, inter alia: promote the development and implementation of tools and methodologies to conduct holistic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystems and then reflect these values in financing and investment decisions; align incentive policies towards the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including for promoting investments in innovative business models, products and technologies; and support further development and application of environmental standards and guidelines, such as for greening infrastructure programmes. Participants also called for strengthening the role of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) and enhancing environmental data and metrics to advance evidence-based decision making and planning.
The Forum recommended reflecting these points in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to build on existing good practices for managing biodiversity. Participants further suggested that the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) take these points into consideration and take action on creating an enabling environment for mainstreaming biodiversity and sustainability considerations into business operations and models.
In their coverage of the Forum, IISD Reporting Services note that the event discussed opportunities for unlocking potential by working across sectors and Conventions to integrate conservation and investment opportunities to create a path of growth grounded in safeguarding the global commons and make nature-based solutions “the new normal.” They report that participants were optimistic about the potential to move towards commercial investments and leverage financing to direct to the “right initiatives” and the “right types of projects” to increase impact on biodiversity and protection of ecosystems.
The Forum took place from 15-16 November. COP 14 is taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 15-29 November.[CBD Forum Conclusions] [Statement by CBD Executive Secretary Cristiana Pasca Palmer] [IISD RS Coverage of Forum]