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The world's natural resources are being depleted at an unsustainable rate. Sixty per cent of the services provided by the planet's natural systems are already degraded. This damage is expected to gather pace with growth in world population, changing land use, economic development and climate change.

IEMA, in partnership with Defra, held a joint workshop at the end of 2010 to provide some of the institute’s senior environment and sustainability professionals from business with the opportunity to input into the business theme of the government’s “Natural Environment” white paper, which is due to be published in the spring.

An outcome of the workshop was that practical examples of how businesses are considering and engaging with the natural environment are now needed to strengthen understanding of what support practitioners need to operate effectively in this area.

Case studies are an effective way to demonstrate the relationship between business and the natural environment, and to illustrate actions and learning that have been taken to make improvements.

IEMA is keen to produce case studies with individual members and organisations that have: engaged their supply chains in reducing impacts on the natural environment and biodiversity; adopted an ecosystem services approach to better reflect the value of the natural environment to the organisation; taken action that has produced both business benefits and reduced impact on the natural environment; involved communities and partners in working to protect and enhance the natural environment; introduced measurement/ monitoring, indicators and reporting to stimulate improvement activity; and made improvements through technology and innovation.

The institute is particularly keen to establish: what organisations are doing to work with the natural environment; how far into the future they are planning; what are the expectations from consumers and stakeholders; what barriers they have encountered; and what successes they have achieved.

The role of the practitioner in all of these stages is very important so case studies from individuals are as welcome as corporate contributions.

IEMA will use the case studies to help the government better understand how business and the natural environment work together, and to inform our own knowledge base about any training gaps in this area.

Some members have already submitted case studies but we’d like to hear from more members and their organisations.

If you would like to support IEMA in this work, please contact Katrina Pierce for more information or click here.