Firms doing little to stem loss of biodiversity, find analysts

3rd February 2011

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  • Natural resources ,
  • Biodiversity



Leading businesses are largely ignoring the importance of biodiversity loss even though its cost is estimated at 7.5% of global GDP.

Investment analysts EIRIS found that sectors with high biodiversity impacts in their supply chains, such as building materials, construction, mining and metals, and power generation, are failing to tackle degradation and that few companies had signed up to the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD).

EIRIS analysed the biodiversity policies of about 1,800 publicly listed companies in the FTSE All-World Development Index. Almost half (47%) had no policy, while just 6% had a policy that EIRIS classes as “good” and 20% had one it describes as “basic”.

Just 20% of fi rms with high biodiversity impacts had made a commitment under the voluntary CBD. Three UK companies – Severn Trent, Unilever and United Utilities – are classed as biodiversity “leaders” in their sectors by EIRIS. Road distribution and shipping, and construction are the worst performing sectors.

EIRIS found that large companies tend to address biodiversity better than smaller ones. This finding was echoed by participants in the joint IEMA/Defra workshop on the natural environment and business, which was held in December.

Many of those attending felt it was mainly the FTSE 100 taking action, with the vast majority of companies not doing enough.

The EIRIS analysis and workshop outcomes came as the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity ended in December.

The UN has now declared the next 10 years the International Decade of Biodiversity, establishing a new global scientific body, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, to provide independent advice and scientifi c evidence on biodiversity and ecosystems for governments and policymakers.

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