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Best practice: 10 indicators of biodiversity engagement

The following key features of best practice have been derived from consultation with companies throughout the UK. Each theme is illustrated in "Case Studies in Business & Biodiversity", produced by Earthwatch, and available on the Publications page. The themes may be used as broad indicators of a company's commitment to biodiversity and the successful integration of biodiversity into its environmental management system:


1. Achieving understanding of biodiversity

Internally, a company recognises there is no dividing line between biodiversity conservation and what a company is trying to achieve through a standard environmental management system, because both are integral to overall protection of the environment.

2. Developing a BAP

A company develops a BAP or biodiversity strategy both for its own landholdings and to enable it to contribute to biodiversity conservation beyond its own sites

  • a company sets priorities, based on thorough consideration of its impact on biodiversity
  • a company regularly monitors the biodiversity on its sites or on which it has an impact by establishing baseline data and monitoring change; having established a baseline the company identifies specific targets for biodiversity

3. Integrating a BAP

A company's own biodiversity plan has clear links to the UK Biodiversity Action Plan or to the Local Biodiversity Action Plan.

4. Environmental partners

A company delivers its biodiversity action plan through partnership with relevant national and local conservation groups.

5. ISO 14001/EMAS integration

Biodiversity considerations are integrated into a company's ISO 14001 standards, so that they are monitored and assessed alongside the other areas of the EMS.

6. Senior management support

A company's commitment to biodiversity is indicated by support at board level and a public statement relating specifically to biodiversity.

7. Qualifications of environmental managers

A trained ecologist is employed as part of the environmental management team or as a consultant.

8. Employee involvement

Employees are involved in the biodiversity strategy through internal communication, involvement in the company's own activities, or as volunteers with the company's environmental partners.

9. Funding biodiversity action

Beyond the immediate impact of its own operations, a company engages in the national biodiversity plan by sponsoring conservation groups to help fulfil national and/or local priorities.

10. Communication

A company communicates its involvement in biodiversity action:
  • a company seeks to inform and influence its stakeholders on the issue of biodiversity by communicating its activities and priorities.

  • a company's overall contribution to biodiversity conservation is measured and reported on, either internally or externally. Reports on environmental performance include action for biodiversity. A company might also wish to consider external verification of its progress reports.

Photo Credit: JL Castner 'Spiny Devil' Katydid

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