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Submitted by admin on August 16, 2023

Mainstreaming Biodiversity: Unlocking Biodiversity Positive Opportunities in the Private Sector

Biodiversity is not only essential for the health and resilience of ecosystems but also for the long-term sustainability of the global economy. There is a growing realisation that the private sector has a crucial role to play in mainstreaming biodiversity conservation efforts. By integrating biodiversity considerations into their operations and investments, businesses can contribute to positive environmental outcomes while also reaping economic benefits. In this blog article we explore the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity in the private sector and highlight global examples of biodiversity-positive opportunities.

Biodiversity Positive Opportunities: 

Several companies around the world have embraced innovative practices and business models that prioritise biodiversity conservation while generating profits. One noteworthy example is Unilever, which has committed to sourcing all its agricultural raw materials sustainably, thereby reducing deforestation and promoting biodiversity. Through initiatives like the Sustainable Agriculture Code and the Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever demonstrates that it is possible for large corporations to have a positive impact on biodiversity.

Another inspiring case is the jewelry company, Tiffany & Co. They have established responsible sourcing practices to ensure that their diamonds and precious metals do not contribute to environmental degradation. By creating a transparent and traceable supply chain, Tiffany & Co. contributes to biodiversity conservation by minimizing the negative impacts associated with mining activities.

When we look locally, big-four bank Nedbank has raised R910 million to finance green infrastructure projects in South Africa.

According to Arvana Singh, Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking head of sustainable finance solutions: “The structured green funding mechanism has enabled Nedbank to unlock infrastructure and impact investor funds in addition to traditional investor funds.”

She says these funds are becoming more conscious of environmental, social and governance issues, and are starting to value the need to invest in instruments that support technologies or infrastructure that can meaningfully contribute to change and a more climate-resilient future.

Investing in the Biodiversity Economy:

Investing in the biodiversity economy presents a significant opportunity for the private sector. The biodiversity economy encompasses a wide range of activities that generate economic value from biodiversity, including ecotourism, sustainable agriculture, bioprospecting, and ecosystem services. These sectors not only provide financial returns but also contribute to conservation efforts and the well-being of local communities.

For instance, Costa Rica has successfully capitalized on its rich biodiversity through ecotourism. By protecting its natural areas and marketing them as tourist destinations, the country has experienced significant economic growth. The private sector plays a crucial role in supporting this industry by establishing eco-lodges, organizing sustainable tours, and partnering with local communities. As a result, the biodiversity economy has become a major contributor to Costa Rica's GDP and has helped foster a culture of conservation.

Recognizing Natural Capital:

One of the key concepts driving the mainstreaming of biodiversity in the private sector is the recognition of natural capital. Natural capital refers to the stock of natural resources and ecosystems that provide a wide range of services, such as clean water, pollination, and climate regulation. By valuing these services and integrating them into business decision-making, companies can better understand and manage their dependence and impact on nature.

For example, the beverage company, Danone, recognised the importance of water as a natural capital asset. They implemented a comprehensive water stewardship program, which involved reducing water consumption, protecting watersheds, and investing in water infrastructure projects. This not only ensured the sustainability of their operations but also contributed to the conservation of freshwater ecosystems and the communities reliant on them.

Mainstreaming biodiversity in the private sector is a crucial step towards achieving global sustainability goals. By embracing biodiversity-positive opportunities, businesses can demonstrate that environmental conservation and economic prosperity can go hand in hand. Investing in the biodiversity economy and recognising natural capital not only helps protect ecosystems and the services they provide but also enhances corporate reputation, reduces risks, and creates new business opportunities. As the private sector continues to integrate biodiversity into its practices, we can envision a future where businesses become champions for biodiversity conservation, driving positive change worldwide.

Visit to find out more about the wide range of Biodiversity Investment Opportunities available in South Africa.=


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