Divya Narain



Biodiversity Fellow Jan-April 2017


Even as a student pursuing my MSc in Biodiversity Conservation and Management at Oxford University back in 2010-11, I was keen to explore the interactions between business and biodiversity, one of the most important drivers of ecosystem change globally. I realized that nowhere in the world were these interactions more pronounced than in India – both a megadiverse country and the fastest-growing emerging economy that packs one-fifth of the world’s population into one-fiftieth of its area. I have spent the past few years understanding the biodiversity-related impacts, dependencies and risks for business, with the objective of influencing policy and practice through research, training and consulting.  I have watched the conservation vs. development battle intensify, as India undertakes ever more development of extractives and infrastructure. 

What are your plans while you are here at Oxford?

During my fellowship at ICCS, I wish to concentrate my research efforts on biodiversity offsetting and biodiversity-related business risks. How robust are the metrics used for measuring impacts and sizing offsets? Are businesses effectively utilizing the concept of ‘no go areas’ to pre-empt and avoid siting-related biodiversity risks? These are a few questions that I hope to answer during my fellowship.

While my domain expertise lies in Business and Biodiversity, Biodiversity Offsets and Business Sustainability, my functional competencies include e-learning technology, training content development and content management systems. I have had the opportunity to work with a range of stakeholders, having developed, taught and managed e-learning and face-to-face training programmes for corporate employees, consultants, policymakers and postgraduate students in the area of corporate environmental management with a specific emphasis on corporate biodiversity management.


With a view to complementing my professional pursuits, I have been undertaking policy research in the areas of biodiversity offsets and biodiversity finance. My first peer-reviewed publication appeared in Science in August 2016. 


Professional Experience

Senior Associate

Environmental Management Centre, Mumbai, April 2013- Present

  • Created and taught an e-learning course on Biodiversity Impact Assessment and Management in partnership with Bombay Natural History Society, India’s largest conservation research NGO
  • Created modules on ‘Business and Biodiversity’ for group-wide employee training at the Aditya Birla Group, one of India’s biggest multinational conglomerates
  • Taught a course on ‘Ecology and Biodiversity’ to M.Tech. class at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay (consecutively for 2 yrs.)


Biodiversity Finance Expert

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net), Sept. 2016 – Present

BES-Net is a UNDP-managed capacity building “network of networks”


GIZ, India, Oct. 2015- July 2016

Supporting the development of e-learning modules on ‘Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Conservation and Management’


Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme, Forest Trends Association, 2011-12


       Wildlife Research and Conservation Society, 2011


MSc in Biodiversity Conservation & Management

      School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, 2010-11


Authored paper titled ‘Compensation or Cooptation: Violation of Additionality in Biodiversity Offsetting in India’

  • Letter-length version published by Science, 19th Aug 2016
  • Presented at Elsevier’s EcoSummit 2016 held in Montpellier, France


  • Resource person for UNEP SCBD's sub-regional workshop on Biodiversity Finance Mechanisms​ at CII's 10th National Sustainability Summit – Presentation and Video, Sept. 2016


  • Contributed as the expert from India to a study titled ‘La compensation écologique à travers le monde: source d’inspiration ?’  by Mission Economie de la Biodiversité of CDC biodiversité