Supply chain management
Many other companies will be involved in meeting the demands of
your own company for energy, materials, goods and services. All
these companies will have their own impacts on biodiversity, and
you could be a significant influence in ensuring that companies
in your supply chain minimise their impacts on biodiversity and
make positive contributions to conservation where possible. Thorough
engagement with biodiversity issues means evaluating your impact
on biodiversity through your supply chain and working with suppliers
to improve their environmental performance. Practical steps can
vary from screening suppliers to fit a template of good biodiversity
practice through to active support of the businesses in your chain
in moving towards more wildlife friendly operations. Any method
carries with it a resource implication and the possibility of increased
costs. For example screening out potential suppliers will tend to
reduce competition. This has to be balanced against the gains to
be achieved from demonstrating sound management of biodiversity
across all aspects of your business.
Where possible, you should seek to work with other companies in
your sector and beyond to pool expertise and resources and develop
joint solutions to biodiversity issues related to common supply
chains. Below are some examples of how companies have started to
address biodiversity issues in their supply chain.
British American Tobacco sources
tobacco from many thousands of small tobacco farmers, which dry
the tobacco using wood-fuelled ovens. British American Tobacco's
Souza Cruz subsidiary in Brazil has an extensive agricultural extension
worker network which encourages farmers to reduce pesticide use
and grow trees for fuel. Recently, in recognition of biodiversity
needs, the company has changed its policy to require a proportion
of trees planted to be native species.
Each year approximately 20,000 hardwood and 70,000 softwood sleepers
are used in renewal works on UK railways. In 1996, Railtrack signed
up to an agreement supported by the WWF 95+ group to purchase timber
products from sources certified to the independent Forest Stewardship
Council standard. The FSC is a global initiative to protect and
enhance the world's forests through independent forest certification
and 'chain of custody' tracking of timber from the forest through
its final product. B&Q also use the FSC certification process.
In a recent survey to assess environmental standards in the hotels
to which it is sending holiday makers, British Airways Holidays
specifically requested that its hotels answer a question on land
management and whether planting in hotel grounds was appropriate
to local biodiversity. This was designed to broaden the hotels'
environmental understanding from areas such as waste minimisation
and water use which are typical in eco-hotel surveys.
Business in the Environment have produced a number of publications
on greening the supply chain. For further information, click here.
Photo Credit: Peter Wakely/ English Nature