Box 3.5 The business case for biodiversity

The “business case for biodiversity” is based on a company’s need to maintain its competitive advantage and long-term sustainability. While some businesses may choose to integrate biodiversity considerations into their practices because it is “the right thing to do” or simply as a public relations exercise, more and more companies, particularly those that heavily depend, or have major impacts, on biodiversity, are investing in biodiversity in order to sustain and improve their profits. In industries that have significant impacts on biodiversity, a company’s productivity, and often its competitive advantage, will be influenced by its biodiversity record, including: compliance with legal requirements; implementation of industry standards; response to demands from local communities, civil society groups and shareholders; and application of consumer-driven standards, such as certification schemes for timber and seafood. As societal expectations and legal requirements increasingly favour biodiversity, companies that have good biodiversity records will have a significant advantage over those that do not. A company’s biodiversity record will influence its ability to access land, sea and other natural resources essential for its operations, as well as its ability to obtain both the legal and social right to operate in an area. It will also affect a company’s access to capital and insurance, particularly given that impact on biodiversity loss is increasingly being recognized as a material risk for business by investors, financial institutions and insurance companies.

For retailers and other companies that interact directly with the public, having a good biodiversity record will also facilitate access to consumer markets, particularly as consumer awareness about the importance of biodiversity increases. In all industries, a good record may also help to attract and retain high quality employees. In addition, for industries that depend on biodiversity, its components, or the ecosystem services supported by biodiversity, biodiversity loss is a production risk that could lead to insecure supply chains, decreased productivity, unreliable service, and poor product quality. In such industries, companies that minimize their negative impacts on biodiversity and invest in ecosystem healthare helping to guarantee the sustainability of their businesses.”

Source & © CBD  Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 (2006),
Chapter 3: Implementing the convention on biological diversity, p.54

Related publication:
Biodiversity (CBD) homeBiodiversity A Global Outlook
Other Figures & Tables on this publication:

Table 3.1 Strategic Plan scorecard

Table 4.1 Prospects for achieving the targets of the framework for assessing progress towards the 2010 Biodiversity Target

Table 2.1 Headline indicators for assessing progress towards the 2010 Biodiversity Target †

Figure 1.1 Biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services, and drivers of change

Figure 2.2 Locations reported by various studies as undergoing high rates of change in forest cover in the past few decades

Figure 2.8 Degree of protection of terrestrial ecoregions and large marine ecosystems (all IUCN Protected Areas Management Categories combined)

Figure 2.9 Frequency distribution of terrestrial ecoregions by percentage surface area under protection

Figure 2.11 Change the Marine Trophic Index (early 1950s to the present)

Figure 2.12 Impact classification based on river channel fragmentation and water flow regulation by dams on 292 of the world’s large river systems

Figure 2.13 Estimates of forest fragmentation due to anthropogenic causes

Figure 2.14 Status and trends in biological oxygen demand (BOD) of major rivers in five regions (1980-2005)

Figure 2.16 Estimated total reactive nitrogen deposition from the atmosphere (wet and dry) (early 1990s)

Figure 2.17 Number of alien species recorded in the Nordic terrestrial, freshwater and marine environment

Figure 2.19 Intensity of ecological footprint

Figure 4.1 Main direct drivers of change in biodiversity and ecosystems

Box 3.3 Principles, guidelines and other tools developed under the Convention

Box 1.1 The role of biodiversity in mitigating the impacts of natural disasters

Box 1.2 Contribution of ecosystem goods and services to national economies

Box 1.3 Millennium Development Goals

Box 2.1 Headline indicators for assessing progress towards the 2010 Biodiversity Target

Box 3.1 The Ecosystem Approach

Box 3.2 Programmes of work of the Convention

Box 3.4 The biodiversity-related conventions

Box 3.5 The business case for biodiversity

Box 4.1Summary of the main findings on biodiversity of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Box 4.2 Policy options for the 2010 Biodiversity Target and beyond

Box 4.3 Elements of a strategy to reduce biodiversity loss

Box 5.1 Checklist of key actions for 2010

Figure 1.2 Economic benefits under alternative management practices

Figure 2.1 Annual net change in forest area by region (1990–2005)

Figure 2.3 Change in live coral cover across the Caribbean basin (1977-2002)

Figure 2.4 The Living Planet Index: trends in populations of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine species worldwide

Figure 2.5 Trends in European common birds in farmland and forest habitats

Figure 2.6 Red List Index for birds in marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, and in forest and shrubland/grassland habitats (1988-2004)

Figure 2.7 Trends in terrestrial surface under protected areas

Figure 2.10 Trends in mean trophic levels of fisheries landings (1950-2000)

Figure 2.15 Global trends in the creation of reactive nitrogen on Earth by human activity

Figure 2.18 Global Ecological Footprint

Figure 2.20 Aid activities targeting CBD objectives from 16 developed countries (1998-2003)

Figure 3.1 Participation in Convention processes

Figure 4.2 Links between food, energy and biodiversity loss

Figure 4.4 Outcomes for hunger reduction and biodiversity loss under the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment scenarios.