Biodiversity: the Basics

How your business can support biodiversity

Every business should have a biodiversity strategy, even professional services, digital and technology businesses in city centre locations. While biodiversity might seem more directly relevant to agriculture, food manufacturing and horticulture, there are plenty of ways your business can become a biodiversity champion. 

What is biodiversity? Why does it matter?

You might think that protecting the bees is best left to the farmers. Implementing a biodiversity strategy is about much more than just protecting the bees. Biodiversity is the rich variety of species in our environment; plants, animals, fungi and even bacteria which all exist in delicate ecosystems, as well as genetic biodiversity; meaning a variety of genes within the same species. This is important for all species’ survival. 

Ecosystems are different areas like forests, bogs, rivers and lakes which make up the habitats where biodiversity lives. Biodiversity has its own intrinsic value, meaning that it exists for its own purpose, cannot be monetised or quantified in financial value. It is part of our natural capital, along with water, soil, air and minerals which are crucial to our planet’s survival and to our own. Biodiversity is currently facing its greatest threat in living memory. According to the WWF Living Planet Report 2020, we have lost an average of 68% of global populations of birds, fish, mammals and amphibians since 1970. 

Biodiversity in Ireland

In Ireland too, species are under threat. According to the National Biodiversity Data Centre one fifth of all assessed species are threatened with extinction, including the Atlantic salmon, the curlew and the great yellow bumblebee. 90% of Ireland’s protected habitats are in a “poor”’ or “bad” state. 

Biodiversity and Sustainable Business

Sustainable business broadly speaking means conducting your business in balance with people, planet and profit. To profit at the expense of either people or planet is not sustainable in the long run. So when we talk about biodiversity strategies for business we’re aiming to use business as a vehicle for inclusion of biodiversity education, conservation and protection.

The business case for biodiversity 

The moral argument for biodiversity conservation is strongly supported by the public – 97% of Irish people agree that we have a responsibility to protect nature. If these are your customers then engaging on wider social issues such as biodiversity is bound to be good for public relations and business overall. The people who work in your organisation, your potential collaborators and your employees, may also be among the 97% of people who believe in protecting nature. By putting in place a biodiversity strategy in your business, your business will be more attractive to new talent, customers and opportunities. Almost like a flower attracting bees!

In addition many aspects of business are connected to biodiversity and environment. Markets, supply chains, products and operations are threatened by biodiversity loss. It is estimated that $6.6tr or 11% of global GDP could be lost due to ecosystem damage. All businesses have an opportunity to engage with biodiversity protection, either by protecting owned lands and habitats, through effective supply chain procurement or by raising awareness with employees and customers alike. 

By taking action businesses have the opportunity to enhance their reputation, encourage industry progress, strengthen their employee and community relationships and to benefit the health and wellbeing of all, from the tiny ant to the giant oak.

Ready to create a biodiversity strategy for your business?