Putting Biodiversity at the Heart of Sustainable Business
Human survival depends on protecting biodiversity. We rely on Earth’s ecosystems for everything from food to fuel and yet we are destroying habitats and polluting precious environments at an alarming rate. Businesses need to understand why biodiversity is important, how it supports sustainable development and serves the needs of people, profit and planet.
Plants, animals and microorganisms form the heart of a healthy planet, and their preservation is critical to securing a sustainable future for life on Earth and yet the UN estimates that three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human activity. Large scale land clearance, pollution and the introduction of invasive species has taken its toll with around one million animal and plant species now threatened with extinction.
The United Nations’ Decade on Biodiversity began in 2011 with 170 countries and members agreeing on 20 targets to tackle biodiversity loss. Yet according to the UN’s latest Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO), by 2020, the international community as a whole had failed to meet every single one of those goals.
Forest cover for instance fell from 31.9% of total land area in 2000 to 31.2% in 2020, a net loss of almost 100 million hectares. It’s a similar picture with our blue planet. Rising ocean temperatures are damaging ecosystems and killing coral reefs. At the same time, every year an estimated 5 to 12 million metric tonnes of plastic enters Earth’s oceans with catastrophic consequences for its rich array of species and ecosystems.
There is no time to lose. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and its partners is now leading the Decade on Ecosystems Restoration 2021-2030. Governments, businesses and individuals alike must step up to the plate if we want to prevent further degradation and start to regenerate our precious ecosystems.
That means changing our approach to economic development which values the planet as a key stakeholder. It also requires us to recognise that biodiversity is not just a “nice to have” but is critical to our survival. Earth’s support systems depend on it to provide air, water, food, habitats, medicines and livelihoods. Indeed, biodiversity can also help us overcome some of our greatest challenges. As carbon stores, areas like peatlands and wetlands will help combat climate change and will be a crucial ally on the road to Net Zero.
The businesses we work with at Wylde Connections are learning about the importance of biodiversity in supporting their sustainability journey. Companies large and small also rely on healthy ecosystems to succeed, including the provision of raw materials. By assessing their impact and then focusing on key areas like reducing emissions, improving energy efficiency and reducing waste, business can play an important role in future proofing both their operations and the planet.
Talk to us about how we can help you with your sustainability strategy and put biodiversity at the heart of best practice.