Businesses for Biodiversity Conservation: A Crucial Investment into the Future

Posted 2nd April 2024


Biodiverse natural environments serve as pillars for the well-being and safety of societies worldwide, constituting a cornerstone of our global economy. Over half of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) hinges on natural capital and its accompanying services. In fact, all businesses, directly or indirectly, rely on biodiversity for resources, materials, and services. From agriculture to pharmaceuticals, biodiversity is at the core of our supply chains. However, despite its undeniable importance, biodiversity is rapidly declining. At present, three-quarters of the Earth’s surface bears the marks of human alteration, leaving scant space for wilderness to thrive. The past four decades alone have witnessed a staggering 60% decline in global wildlife populations due to human-induced factors such as overexploitation of natural resources, climate change, pollution, and changes in land and sea use.

In this context, the impact of business operations on biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation, and resource depletion cannot be overstated. From the production and processing of raw materials to the construction of factories and warehouses to the packaging and shipping of products – every aspect of business leaves enduring marks on natural ecosystems. However, the interdependence between biodiversity and business goes deeper than often acknowledged. Alarming reports from the World Economic Forum indicate that environmental risks stemming from ecosystem destruction, including natural disasters, pose the single most significant threat to the global economy.

Therefore, for businesses, ensuring stable supply chains and securing long-term economic viability necessitates proactive measures to protect nature and biodiversity. Moreover, such actions not only safeguard businesses against environmental risks but also foster stronger relationships with customers and the societies they serve. Therefore, it is imperative for businesses to recognize their role in preserving biodiversity and take decisive steps towards sustainable practices.

One of the primary ways businesses can contribute to biodiversity conservation is through comprehensive assessments of the impacts of their operations (across the entire value chain, from extraction of raw materials right through to post-consumption waste) on biodiversity . By understanding the risks posed by their activities, businesses can identify areas that need to be fixed and therefor identify and implement measures to minimize negative impacts and promote positive outcomes for biodiversity.

Moreover, transparency is key in fostering biodiversity conservation efforts. It is crucial that businesses disclose their environmental impacts, including their effects on biodiversity, to stakeholders and the public. This transparency would encourage accountability, foster commitment and allow for informed decision-making. Additionally, such disclosures will allow other stakeholders including communities, conservation groups, research and academia to truly measure the health of biodiversity and assist with interventions that would safeguard the same. Moreover,  involving local communities and stakeholders in conservation initiatives would foster a sense of ownership and ensure that interventions are culturally and socially sensitive.

Unlike what has perhaps been the general understanding all through history, biodiversity conservation is not the sole responsibility of governments or environmental organizations; it requires a collaborative effort from all sectors of society,  especially businesses. Adopting a whole-of-society approach entails partnerships between governments, businesses, civil society, and local communities to address biodiversity loss collectively. By working together, stakeholders can leverage their resources and expertise to implement effective conservation measures. Businesses, in the current economic and social conditions have far more influence than civil society or even the governance systems and it is therefore imperative that they leverage their influence and resources to advocate for policy changes supporting biodiversity conservation. This entails active participation in policy negotiations and consultations, proactive measures for research and innovation and general intent to drive systemic change at the policy level.

Nature-positive industry practices is another concept which is gaining popularity especially after the COP15 held in Montreal in 2022. Nature-positive industry practices (in theory and principle) encompass a holistic approach whereby businesses strive to not only minimize their negative impact on biodiversity but also actively contribute to its restoration and enhancement. These practices involve integrating sustainability principles into every aspect of business operations, from supply chain management to product development and waste reduction. By prioritizing regenerative and nature-based solutions, nature-positive businesses can contribute towards restoring ecosystems, protecting biodiversity, and promoting the long-term health of the planet while simultaneously achieving economic prosperity and societal well-being. Numerous companies around the world have made significant commitments to promote nature-positive industry practices. Examples include eliminating deforestation risks from supply chains, adopting climate-smart agriculture strategies, and enhancing water security while reducing harmful plastics usage in packaging and shipping. Collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation with a commitment to environmental stewardship is truly at the core of nature-positivity and therefore breaking silos and fostering an environment where each industry is not trying to reinvent the wheel is very important. In fact, collaboration within industries amplifies the impact of conservation efforts. For instance, the Fashion Pact unites fashion and textile organizations globally to pursue shared environmental goals, encompassing ending global warming, restoring biodiversity, and protecting oceans. As coalitions, businesses can also contribute to biodiversity conservation by investing in research and innovation which can lead to the development of sustainable practices, technologies, and products that minimize environmental impacts and help reduce the strain on biodiversity.

There are many more means for businesses to prioritize biodiversity conservation. And sometimes, the journey towards nature positivity or just conservation inclusive business modelling can seem daunting, with challenges ranging from understanding operational impacts to implementing transparent reporting mechanisms. However, organizations like International Biodiversity Consultants Ltd offer specialized expertise to bridge these gaps. By collaborating with biodiversity experts or consultancies, businesses can navigate complex assessments and stakeholder engagement processes, laying the groundwork for informed decision-making. Moreover, embracing a whole-of-society approach is essential for driving systemic transformation and advocating for policy changes that support conservation efforts and businesses in collaboration with biodiversity experts can catalyse a paradigm shift towards sustainability, ensuring sustainable future for biodiversity and society alike for generations to come.

To read more about ways by which IBC can support businesses and corporations understand and mitigate their footprint and potential liabilities on biodiversity – please visit our website:


About the Author


Pakhi Das is a conservation professional deeply committed to shaping a future where policies and planning are aligned with the imperative of preserving Earth’s rich biodiversity. With a profound appreciation for the interconnectedness of ecosystems and human societies, she is passionate about analysing conservation policies and advocating for evidence-based solutions that prioritize the protection of species and habitats, promote ecological restoration, and address the underlying drivers of biodiversity loss.


Pakhi coordinates the Global Youth Biodiversity Network the official youth constituency under the UN CBD in India, and is committed to promoting involvement from marginalized conservation stakeholders, including youth, indigenous communities, and women. She actively seeks collaborations to empower and build capacity, ultimately working towards intergenerational equity.



World economic forum 2020-

WWF, 2022 –

Business Commission to Tackle Inequality (BCTI), 2021-

UNEP, 2023 –