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Business and Biodiversity in South Africa

         
Introduction and Background
 
Biodiversity Mainstreaming
 
Sector specific mainstreaming
 
Policy enabling mechanisms
 
Aim, objectives and roles of NBBN
 
Highlights and events
                     

Introduction and Background

 

 
   

We live in an age where environmental and sustainability issues are more visible than ever before, but we are also faced with an ongoing and difficult recovery from the financial crisis and consequent economic uncertainty. While environmental and economic concerns may appear to be very different issues, and in fact at odds with each other, they are actually deeply intertwined. Government and businesses are realizing that the economic and social development of the country is dependent on healthy ecosystems and biodiversity.

The South African National Development Plan: Vision 2030 confirms that national economic growth is dependent on the environmental sustainability of our proposed development path. In order to make the necessary shift, the political importance of biodiversity needs to be understood at the highest levels. Government policies and business practices need to adopt more innovative approaches that recognize the value of biodiversity for economic and social prosperity.

The protection and enhancement of environmental assets and natural resources is one of twelve key outcomes for South Africa’s government action adopted by the Presidency in 2009. In addition to its own intrinsic value, South Africa’s biodiversity provides an important basis for economic growth and development. Equally important is the need to keep biodiversity and ecosystem functions intact to ensure the ongoing provision of ecosystem services on which socio-economic development is based. The wide range of legislation dealing with various aspects of natural resource management, together with the three-sphere system of government, has resulted in a large number of government departments and agencies being responsible for biodiversity and protected area management in the country.

Our natural resources, including water, wildlife, soil and flora, are essential for the country’s development and businesses are, as a consequence, also inextricably linked to the wellbeing and sustainable use of these resources. Businesses are very often at the “sharp end” of biodiversity impacts, as they consume ecosystem goods and services and they contribute to ecosystem change. Therefore, Private sector or Business engagement is a key strategic interest for the government of South Africa. Business engagement is key to unlocking the benefits of biodiversity and promoting the biodiversity Economy which has been earmarked as a Presidential priority.

A recent estimate of the value of ecosystem goods and services to South Africa’s economy places this at R73 billion per annum, equivalent to 7% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Biodiversity and healthy ecosystems provide us with essential services – pollination of crops, a regular supply of clean water, and prevention of flooding and soil erosion. Biodiversity is also important as a safety net in rural areas, where communities often depend directly on biodiversity for survival – hunting, fishing and harvesting for food, medicine and shelter. South Africa’s landscape approach to managing biodiversity involves state and civil society role-players working in partnerships across land- and seascapes to conserve, restore and use biodiversity sustainably in order to promote the resilience of ecosystems and enhance livelihoods.

Biodiversity Mainstreaming

 

Mainstreaming commonly refers to the integration or inclusion of actions related to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in government policies and strategies relating to business sectors, such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, tourism and mining. Mainstreaming might also refer to the inclusion of biodiversity considerations in poverty reduction plans and national sustainable development plans.

South Africa ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1997, endorsing the objectives of the Convention, including the mainstreaming of biodiversity in all governmental policies, plans and programmes. The White Paper on Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biological Diversity, developed in 1997, set out a number of goals, strategies and priorities for conservation, sustainable use and equitable benefit sharing.

Article 6b of the CBD prescribes that the Parties have an obligation to: “Integrate, as far as possible and as appropriate, the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies.” The Hague Ministerial Declaration from COP 6 in 2002 stated: “The most important lesson of the last ten years is that the objectives of the Convention will be impossible to meet until consideration of biodiversity is fully integrated into other sectors. The need to mainstream the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources across all sectors of the national economy, society and the policy-making framework is a complex challenge at the heart of the Convention.”

The rationale is that through mainstreaming, biodiversity concerns will be integrated into the way economic sectors, development models, policies and programmes operate. Taking biodiversity concerns into account at all these levels can have immediate benefits in improving environmental quality and productivity.

South Africa recognizes mainstreaming as one of the key mechanisms to enhance the profile and value proposition of biodiversity and ecosystem services across sectors. However more than awareness raising and profile enhancement, mainstreaming has the potential of significantly improving the implementation of biodiversity imperatives as reflected in the CBD strategic plan, and the achievement of the Aichi biodiversity targets, without potentially compromising the identity of the sector which it arduously built since the establishment of the three Rio Conventions in 1992. Having made significant progress on mainstreaming as reported in the 5th national report, national development plan and the recently adopted SDGs, South Africa considers mainstreaming as a strategic priority to effect changes at the policy and intuitional levels to fast track progress towards achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

 
   

South Africa has endorsed the adoption of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), whichthe universal goals that UN Member states committed to over the next 15 years. The SDGs demonstrate the interconnectedness of global challenges and were developed in recognition of the vital role of natural capital management in broader prosperity and stability of socio-economic issues. Elements of biodiversity are interwoven in over half of the SDGs. Examples of such include managing water quality and soil health; protecting biodiversity and natural heritage; mobilising finances for sustainable management of ecosystems; and integrating ecosystem and biodiversity values into planning, development and poverty reduction plans. The integration of Biodiversity into the SDGs is seen as a success of the mechanism of mainstreaming. Specifically, South Africa recognises that mainstreaming into the production sectors such as the agriculture, fisheries and forestry are priorities but the energy sector has to be included as well.

 
   

A Preliminary Baseline Assessment was undertaken by the South African National Business and Biodiversity Network to assess current approaches and practices of South African businesses to mainstream biodiversity. The Assessment entitled Overview of current approaches and practices of South African businesses to the mainstreaming of biodiversity - A Preliminary Baseline Assessment’ was published and launched by DEA in November 2015 at the Biodiversity Economy Indaba Event held in KwaZulu Natal. Companies from different sectors, including the insurance, tobacco, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, transport, logistics, energy, engineering, beverage, communication, retail, agricultural supply chain, mining and construction sectors, were selected to assess potential trends across sectors. Based on the findings of this preliminary baseline assessment, some observations and recommendations made were that:

  • Current practices in the assessment; management and reporting of biodiversity within business are very ad-hoc. Businesses need to take a more strategic and comprehensive approach in this area.
  • Financial, sustainability and integrated reporting on biodiversity-related matters need to be consolidated and rationalised.
  • Businesses need to improve their understanding of their dependencies on biodiversity and should conduct focused assessments in this context.
  • Businesses need to improve their assessment of business risks and opportunities related to biodiversity. This could be achieved by conducting dedicated biodiversity risk and opportunity assessments.
  • Further information sharing and capacity building is needed to inform and train businesses on the various tools available to support biodiversity mainstreaming. Case studies of biodiversity mainstreaming are needed as practical examples.
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Sector specific mainstreaming

 
   

Tourism

The tourism sector is one of the major sectors in the global economy. It accounts for 9 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product, 6 per cent of exports and contributes (directly or indirectly) to one in eleven jobs.

The role played by biodiversity and nature in the South African tourism value chain is of strategic importance to the sector.  Nature-based tourism relies on biodiversity and diverse ecosystems to attract visitors. Opportunities to view biodiversity and ecosystems are a major asset for the tourism sector and visits to natural areas are estimated to account for about 50% of all global leisure travel.  This is however a fine balancing act as poorly planned tourism activities and development can negatively impact on the environment and natural resource base.

Tourism can contribute directly to the conservation of sensitive areas and habitats through a variety of activities such as park-entrance fees and by raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity. However, tourism can also negatively impact biodiversity if land and resources are strained by excessive use. While no Aichi Biodiversity Target directly addresses tourism, Aichi Biodiversity Target 4, which calls for steps to achieve plans for sustainable production and consumption to be taken, is relevant.

South Africa’s biodiversity, scenic beauty, mild climate and cultural diversity have made it one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations. The tourism industry has exceeded the growth of virtually all other sectors in the economy in the post-apartheid era, and is an important employer in both the public and private sectors, accounting for approximately 7% of employment in South Africa, and contributing approximately 8.5% to GDP.

The government is committed to expanding national parks and provincial nature reserves, broadening tourism opportunities to include historically disadvantaged communities and using wise land-use planning to maintain scenic beauty in production landscapes. There are a total of 19 national parks in the country out of which 7 are coastal national parks.

Tourist traffic, particularly in vulnerable habitats, can result in habitat degradation as well as pollution and waste. Further, the construction of additional infrastructure to cater to the needs of tourist, such as roads and lodging, can result in habitat loss and fragmentation. Conversely, nature-based tourism can help to generate awareness which is necessary to bring about the societal changes required to meaningfully address biodiversity. Similarly, revenue generated by biodiversity related tourism can also help to fund biodiversity conservation.

A range of tools already exists to help manage the impacts of tourism on biodiversity. Tools range from policies, programmes and regulations to industry or voluntary standards developed by the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Tourism Organization, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature among others.

Forestry

Forests offer a diverse set of habitats for plants, animals and micro-organisms. Forests also provide food, carbon storage and other goods and services that are crucial to the survival and well-being of all humanity. These benefits are underpinned by biodiversity. However, these biologically rich systems are threatened, largely as a result of human activity. Aichi Biodiversity Target 5 calls for the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, to be at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced. Aichi Biodiversity Target 7 calls for areas under forestry to be managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.

In South Africa, about 90% of commercial forestry plantations occur within the Grasslands Biome, mostly in catchments with high rainfall and runoff. Areas under plantation forests account for 18% of commercially cropped or planted land within the biome. The sector is well organised under the industry association, Forestry South Africa (which includes small, medium and large growers), and makes a significant contribution to the national economy.

Since 1994, the government of South Africa has introduced changes to the management of plantation forests in order to achieve goals including:

  •  the privatisation of publicly owned commercial forestry operations
  • providing increased support for out-grower schemes, allowing smallholders to grow trees with support from companies who commit to buying their produce for pulp
  • introducing changes in the forestry licensing system.

Because of their heavy consumption of scarce water resources, commercial plantations became a declared stream flow reduction activity in terms of the National Water Act of 1998, which meant that no new plantations could be established without the granting of a water license. This has significantly reduced the rate of expansion of commercial plantations, although there is currently demand for growth in the small-grower part of the industry.

The plantation forestry sector has also recognized the need to use planning tools to ensure that new plantings are located away from areas of highest biodiversity importance, wherever possible. The Eastern Cape chapter of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (AsgiSA), Forestry South Africa and the National Grasslands Programme have partnered on the development of a biodiversity screening tool to avoid areas of biodiversity importance in future expansion of plantations. This has helped to streamline and increase the efficiency of the forestry authorization process, and has been very well received by the forestry sector. The Forestry Biodiversity Prioritization Tool has been developed using the principles and methods of systematic biodiversity planning, and helps to align forestry planning tools with the national biodiversity monitoring and reporting framework. Ultimately, biodiversity needs to be recognized as a fundamental element of healthy and productive forests.

Fisheries and aquaculture

Marine, coastal and inland ecosystems host a variety of aquatic biological diversity that greatly contributes to the economic, social and cultural aspects of communities around the world. Fisheries and aquaculture are dependent on this biodiversity. Biodiversity is not only the source of wild caught fish but also sustains the habitats which serve as feeding, spawning and nursery sites which are essential for wild fish recruitment. However, there are currently a number of fisheries that are not sustainably managed and aquaculture operations and practices with significant negative impacts on biodiversity and habitats. Aichi Biodiversity Target 6, which calls for all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants to be managed and harvested sustainably, is directly relevant to this sector.

South Africa’s marine ecosystems are extremely diverse and play a critically important role in sustaining livelihoods, through both commercial and subsistence fisheries. As in many other parts of the world, South Africa’s marine ecosystems are seriously threatened, and there is growing concern about the depletion of marine fish stocks. Although stocks of some fish species are in a healthy state and are well managed, others – particularly line-fish species – are currently over-exploited. The commercial fisheries operating along the coast are managed by stringent regulations, but enforcement along a 3,000 km coastline presents many challenges. Demand for fish and seafood has increased, and technological advances in the fishing industry have made it easier to find and catch fish. In addition, some fishing methods impact negatively on the health of marine ecosystems and populations of threatened species. This situation has been compounded by a lack of awareness within the industry and amongst wholesalers, retailers and consumers of the conservation status of marine species being traded or offered at restaurants.

Finding and applying management approaches that avoid unsustainable fishing practices and that enable stocks to recover are essential elements in a strategy to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity. Building on a long history of research into marine ecosystems, South Africa has adopted an Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries (EAF) that seeks to protect and enhance the health of marine ecosystems, in balance with the diverse needs and values of present and future generations. The Responsible Fisheries Programme, an initiative led by WWF-SA, is dedicated to the successful implementation of an EAF in South Africa and Namibia, and attempts to influence the way fish are caught.

Food and agriculture

Ending hunger, achieving food security and improving human nutrition are global development objectives. A major challenge over the coming years will be increasing agricultural production to adequately feed the growing world population. Aichi Biodiversity Target 7 calls for areas under agriculture to be managed sustainably, and Aichi Biodiversity Target 13 calls for the maintenance of the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild relatives.

Biodiversity is the basis of agriculture. It is at the origin of all crops and domesticated livestock and the variety within them, and is the foundation of ecosystem services essential to sustain food production, nutrition and human well-being. When managed sustainably, agriculture can contribute to developing and maintaining crops and livestock genetic diversity as well as wider ecosystem functions such as the maintenance of water quality, soil moisture retention, carbon sequestration and pollination. While agriculture can contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, it is also a major driver of biodiversity loss.

With the increasing population, the production sectors are under increasing pressure to intensify their outputs to meet rising food, product and development demands in domestic and global markets. This, and the need to sustain profitability, has led, in some instances, to the use of unsustainable production practices that impact negatively on biodiversity and ecosystems. To this end, government has placed a great emphasis to mainstreaming biodiversity in the agricultural sector.

South Africa’s agricultural sector is characterized by a dual economy with a well-developed commercial sector and a predominantly subsistence-orientated sector in communal areas. Water availability, climatic factors and soil quality limit agricultural expansion, and although nearly 86% of the land is zoned for agricultural use, only 13% of total land area is arable and suitable for commercial crop production (SA Yearbook, 2008/9). The bulk of agricultural land in South Africa is used as rangeland for grazing cattle, sheep, goats and game. Socially, agriculture is important as it has traditionally been the primary source of employment in rural areas.

The conservation and restoration of biodiversity (including pollinator and pest-control species, as well as soil biodiversity) in agricultural landscapes can help to ensure the sustainability and productivity of agriculture and improve the nutritional value of food. Enhancing the ecosystem services (such as erosion control) can simultaneously improve resource use efficiency and provide off-farm benefits. Such actions will also reduce the need for agricultural inputs, such as water, fertilizer, and pesticides.

[DEA also recognizes the importance of research to tackles biodiversity issues and has entered into partnership agreements with multiple academia, in order to conduct research on (inter aliaI) biodiversity economy issues. One such study is the Scientific Assessment of the Nature and Extent of the Problem and Existing Knowledge on the Issue of Predation of Small Livestock by Jackal and Caracal in South Africa which was launched at the 87th Annual Woolgrowers Association Congress held on the 1 & 2 June 2016 in Port Elizabeth.
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Policy enabling mechanisms

 

Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa

Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) was initiated as a regional policy framework in May 2012 to take action toward sustainability in three major areas namely

(i) incorporating the value of natural capital in public and private policies and decision-making;

(ii) pursuing inclusive sustainable production in agriculture, fisheries, and extractive industries while maintaining natural capital; and

(iii) generating data and building capacity to support policy networks. The Declaration is a vehicle for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, transitioning towards a green economy, addressing climate change, and establishing the conditions necessary for long-term, sustainable prosperity. Thus countries declared to start accounting for natural resources.

Natural Capital Accounting

Nature is foundational to the prosperity and security of people and economies, but the value of natural capital and the impacts of its loss are not being captured in the System of National Accounts.

Natural Capital Accounting is the measurement of natural resource stocks (both renewable and non-renewable) and the flows of benefits they provide. It is a broad term used to describe accounting efforts in both the public and private sectors for nature. Natural capital, which includes all of nature’s assets – geology, soil, air, water, and all living things – provides a wide range of services to people and is estimated to contribute to 36% of the total wealth of developing countries worldwide. Thus NCA seeks to capture and integrate the contribution of nature into the system that the private and public sectors use to make decisions

During the COP 10 (Nagoya 2010), Parties drafted a business decision calling on Governments and Business to engage on mainstreaming biodiversity concerns into the private sector. Parties reaffirmed and strengthened this decision at COP 11 (Hyderabad, 2012).

The Biodiversity Economy

“The biodiversity economy of South Africa encompasses the business and economic activities that either directly depend on biodiversity for their core business or that contribute to conservation of biodiversity through their activities.”

The Department has placed a priority in business and biodiversity with many initiatives aimed at advancing the biodiversity economy in a sustainable manner. As such, the Department gazetted the Biodiversity Economy Strategy (BES). The Vision of BES is to optimize the total economic benefits of the wildlife and bioprospecting industries through its sustainable use, in line with the Vision of the Department of Environmental Affairs. The purpose of BES is to provide a 14 year national coordination, leadership and guidance to the development and growth of the biodiversity economy.

The BES has set an industry growth goal stating that by 2030, the South African biodiversity economy will achieve an average annualised GDP growth rate of 10% per annum. This envisioned growth curve extends into the year 2030 and is aligned to the efforts of the country’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030. This growth would be achieved through cooperation between the private sector, government and communities; through realizing opportunities in various market segments; through addressing development and growth constraints; and through managing both the wildlife and bioprospecting industries in an environmentally sustainable manner. This growth would not only support returns on investment for existing investors but would also enable new investments in support of South Africa’s economic transformation.

The BES seeks to contribute to the transformation of the biodiversity economy in South Africa through inclusive economic opportunities, reflected by a sector which is equitable (equitable access to resources, equitable and fair processes and procedures and equitable in distribution of resources in the market).

The Global Platform for Business and Biodiversity

 
 
The GPBB can be access on this link: https://www.cbd.int/business/

There are many things that companies can do, and are doing, to address and mitigate their current and future impacts and dependencies on the environment. TheGlobal Platform for Business and Biodiversity (GPBB) was designed to support the business engagement activities of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) including the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity. It contains a host case studies and best practices from companies that have taken an active approach to biodiversity and ecosystem management.

The Global Partnership allows for the sharing of information and best practices amongst the various member initiatives as well as their constituent organizations. In addition, the Partnership is involved in several COP mandated projects including on reporting and making the business case for the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The CBD Secretariat is pursuing a comprehensive strategy designed to more deeply engage the business community with the Convention, as well as to fulfill the COP 10 and 11 decisions. The Global Partnership also has several working groups looking at different issues including capacity building, communications, mainstreaming, and financial resources.

The Secretariat of the CBD, together with the Government of Mexico, is inviting businesses and financial institutions to become a signatory to the Business and Biodiversity Pledge. The pledge provides an opportunity for business leaders to call attention to the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services for businesses and to reaffirm their commitment to take positive action in support of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, and in taking actions that contribute to the achievement of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. This will be the first time that such a business pledge has been issued at a CBD Conference of the Parties. Pledge is now open for signature open: https://www.cbd.int/business/pledges/pledge.pdf. Interested businesses and financial institutions can submit the signed pledge to secretariat@cbd.int, together with a logo of their organization. For those businesses participating in the 2016 Business and Biodiversity Forum, there will be a formal signing ceremony at the COP13.

National Business and Biodiversity Network (NBBN)

 
   

The Global platform is implemented through multiple national and regional initiatives. South Africa, through the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), is a signatory party to the CBD and GPBB. As such, there is a national agenda to mainstream biodiversity into businesses. The national initiative implementing business and biodiversity is South Africa is the National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN). The NBBN was launched on the 15th May 2013 by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Nedbank Limited, Hatch Goba, De Beers, Transnet, Pam Golding Properties and Pick n Pay and currently also has16 supporting partners. The NBBN is primarily business focused, and as such is primarily aimed at, and managed by, the business community.

The National Biodiversity and Business Network was established in response to this new business imperative, in alignment with government's objective to build strategic partnerships in order to achieve an environmentally friendly developmental path.

Aim, objectives and roles of NBBN

 

The aim of the Network is to assist businesses from various sectors to integrate and mainstream biodiversity issues into their strategies and operations. It is designed to be an open and inclusive association of likeminded organisations that have recognized the need to raise awareness of, and stimulate conversation about, biodiversity issues amongst the business community.The Network will assist companies in understanding and mainstreaming the goals of the CBD, other key environmental conventions, the Aichi Targets and the relevant policy and legal framework in terms of biodiversity. It is a multi-sectorial network but information is focused upon common issues concerning biodiversity.

The NBBN objectives are to: 

  • Provide a national platform to facilitate strategic discussions about biodiversity and business.
  • Create national momentum about mainstreaming biodiversity considerations into businesses.
  • Facilitate the development of a national agenda in terms of biodiversity and business.
  • Facilitate cohesion and integration in the discussion and agenda about biodiversity and business.
  • Facilitate focused, pragmatic and useful interventions to support businesses in the mainstreaming process.

While each business sector is different in its needs and approaches, the multi-sector approach allows common elements of concern to be raised and best practices, with respect to biodiversity mainstreaming, across the various sectors to be shared. There should also be some efforts made to address larger sustainability issues and determine how biodiversity fits in with climate change, water and land management, pollution etc.

NBBN Partners and Members

Organisations and companies can support the NBBN by becoming Partners, Supporting Partner or Member. Partners and members benefits in a number of ways including access to information regarding business and biodiversity, being informed about events nationally and internationally organised around this theme, have access to training sessions, have an opportunity to shape the debate and meet the challenges around biodiversity and business in the South African context, be able to liaise with government and other relevant stakeholders to discuss the policy directions in terms of biodiversity and business, entitlement to branding rights, have an association with media events and interventions related to the Network  and to all on the NBBN manager for input or support on biodiversity and business related matters; amongst other benefits.

For more information on the NBBN and becoming a partner or member please visit the website on: https://www.ewt.org.za/BUSINESSDEVELOPMENT/business.html.

Since its launch in 2013, the Department of Environmental Affairs as one of the founding partners of NBBN has been an executive member of the steering committee represented by the director of the Science Policy Interface.Furthermore, the Department was actively involved in the preparations for the annual Business and Biodiversity Indaba, which the Director General has participated in.

The NBBN is a useful mechanism/tool to mainstream the environment/biodiversity into the private sector. There are several co-benefits for Biodiversity from other Departmental initiatives such as the working for programmes. With the rollout of the Biodiversity Economy Strategy and the outcomes of recent events like the Oceans Phakisa, the outcomes of the recently held Wildlife Economy Lab and the Rhino lab, this initiative is expected to grow.

Highlights and events

 

The IUCN, ACTS and the NBBN will be working together to develop an online South African business and biodiversity mainstreaming toolkit which will include a number of SA specific case studies. The NBBN toolkit will be South African specific in terms of legislation and in terms of what existing biodiversity data is available. The plan is not to invent new tools but rather to make use of existing tools. The toolkit will showcase the biodiversity mainstreaming work of SA companies. Business and biodiversity related information is being shared through NBBN newsletters (distributed on a monthly basis) and through the events presented by the NBBN.

The Secretariat of the CBD, together with the Government of Mexico, is inviting businesses and financial institutions to become a signatory to the Business and Biodiversity Pledge.The pledge provides an opportunity for business leaders to call attention to the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services for businesses and to reaffirm their commitment to take positive action in support of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, and in taking actions that contribute to the achievement of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. This will be the first time that such a business pledge has been issued at a CBD Conference of the Parties. Pledge is now open for signature open: https://www.cbd.int/business/pledges/pledge.pdf.

For more information on the National Business and Biodiversity Initiative please contact the director of the Science Policy Interface Mr. Kiruben Naicker on:

Email: knaicker@environment.gov.za

Tel: 012 3999622.

Biodiversity mainstreaming opportunities for businesses

Companies are increasingly being obliged to consider environmental issues in their business models, decisions, sourcing and production methods. Consumers are also becoming more aware of environmental issues and are increasingly looking for “green” products. Therefore, the management of natural capital has to become an essential component of the formal risk management and governance of businesses. For organisations to remain competitive they have to identify their current and future impacts and dependencies on the environment. By doing so in a pro-active and collaborative manner, industry will also be able to identify opportunities related to the management of natural resources. Businesses that are not already incorporating natural capital into their decision making are more likely to be missing significant risks and opportunities for their business.

Natural Capital Coalition

Until now, natural capital has for the most part been excluded from decisions and, when included has been largely inconsistent, open to interpretation, or limited to moral arguments. The Natural Capital Coalition is a unique global multi-stakeholder collaboration that brings together leading global initiatives and organizations to harmonize approaches to natural capital.

The Natural Capital Coalition has developed The Natural Capital Protocol, which is a framework designed to help generate trusted, credible, and actionable information for business managers to inform decisions. The Natural Capital Protocol offers a standardized framework to identify, measure, and value impacts and dependencies on natural capital. It aims to support better decisions by including how we interact with nature, or more specifically natural capital. Businesses are encouraged to apply for the Protocol which aims to help businesses create greater value, be more efficient and make better decisions.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. Together with its members, the council applies its respected thought leadership and effective advocacy to generate constructive solutions and take shared action.

Events

Upcoming events

  • We are happy to announce that DEA will host the third Annual Biodiversity Research and Evidence Indaba, the event will be hosted in August 2017. This is a platform required to update and implements the National Biodiversity Research and Evidence Strategy, more updates regarding the hosting of the Indaba will be posted on this website. The outcomes of the indaba will be made available after the event.
  • The NBBN will host its third Indaba in August 2017 at a suitable venue in South Africa following the success of its first and second inaugural Indaba in 2015 and 2016, the proposed theme for this event is “Creating Solutions that Drive Innovation”. Further information regarding the event will be communicated through this platform. For more information on other upcoming NBBN events visit www.ewt.org.za
  • It has been confirmed that Egypt will be the host country for the 14th Biodiversity COP, hashtag #COP14, in 2018. The focal interest of the event is on learning about biodiversity, for more details on this upcoming event visit www.cbd.int/meetings/

Previous events

  • The CBD COP 13 was undertaken in December 2016 in Mexico with the theme “Mainstreaming Biodiversity”, with a focus on the agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism sectors. Of particular interest at the COP13 was the 2016 Business and Biodiversity Forum. Some significant decisions on mainstreaming biodiversity were made, the outcomes can be accessed from this website: www.cbd.int/conferences/2016
  • The NBBN hosted its second Indaba on the 25th - 26th October 2016 following the success of its inaugural indaba in 2015. To have access to the Indaba presentations visit: www.ewt.org.za/BUSINESSDEVELOPMENT/indaba.html

 

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