Working With Business & Applying Conservation Science

Why we are working with business on biodiversity

We can see a positive shift in industry with businesses increasingly taking notice of biodiversity. This is not only to protect it for its own intrinsic value. Progressive business leaders now realise that accounting for nature makes sense for the sustainable growth of businesses around the world.

Through her Knowledge Exchange Fellowship, Dr Prue Addison is conducting translational research with multinational businesses, government agencies and NGOs to bring lessons from conservation science to help mainstream biodiversity in the private sector. Prue's work focuses on corporate biodiversity accountability in particular, helping businesses develop systems to measure, evaluate and report on their biodiversity performance.


Current projects

The following projects are being run through Prue's NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship (a 3 year fellowship funded by the Natural Environment Research Council; 2016-2019):


Conservation science advice to mainstream biodiversity in the private sector (2016 – current)

Summary: Prue has been working with representatives from governments, businesses, and NGOs to raise awareness of conservation science evidence and solutions to address business challenges with measuring, evaluating and reporting on corporate biodiversity performance. Prue has provided targeted advice to multinational businesses such as BP, Kering and Sainsbury’s, and has been invited to contribute to a variety of business and biodiversity meetings, workshops, and conferences in the UK and internationally. Prue has also recently joined the advisory board for the WCMC project developing biodiversity indicators for the extractives sector, and the Natural Capital Coalition Biodiversity Project Steering Group; where she will be providing expert conservation science advice to these internationally important projects. For more details on Prue’s Knowledge Exchange activities see the KE@ICCS current activities webpage.


Analysis of international biodiversity targets to understand and maximise their relevance to the private sector  (2017 – current)

Project collaborators: University of Oxford and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Funding: Valuing Nature Network

Summary: Prue has teamed up with Matt Smith (the JNCC) and a Valuing Nature Program intern, Tom Smith who is undertaking an analysis of international biodiversity targets (e.g. CBD Aichi Targets and Sustainable Development Goals) to illustrate their relevance to the private sector. This research will be used to identify and explore avenues to motivate private sector action on biodiversity.

This project sits at the intersection between science, policy and business, and involves a comprehensive analysis of the international biodiversity and relevant sustainable development targets to understand and maximize their relevance to the private sector. This project will inform strategic engagement of UK government, its agencies and Multi-lateral Environmental Agreements Secretariats with the private sector, and will directly feed into UK preparations for upcoming meetings such as business and biodiversity discussions at the Convention for Biological Diversity COP14 in 2018. It will also be used to inform the UK government’s mainstreaming biodiversity agenda, encouraging and enhancing private sector biodiversity action, and work towards the CDB Post-2020 Biodiversity Strategy.


Clarifying the spectrum of biodiversity indicator applications for business (2017 – current)

Project collaborators: University of Oxford and the IUCN

Funding: In-kind collaboration between the University of Oxford (NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship programme) and the IUCN

Summary: Many business leaders recognize the importance of accounting for their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity. Corporate biodiversity accountability approaches allow businesses to demonstrate their environmentally responsible actions and be accountable both internally (e.g., reporting to operations managers) and externally (e.g., reporting to investors, regulatory bodies, stakeholders, and the general public).

Measurement of biodiversity is a relatively new concept for many businesses, and many grapple with how to distil and act on information about complex and dynamic natural systems that interact with all levels of their business. They face critical challenges around developing indicators that can help effectively measure and evaluate biodiversity performance from site- to corporate- levels. The aim of this project is to create a framework and guidance to support businesses in identifying and/or developing robust and relevant biodiversity indicators for different corporate biodiversity accountability purposes. You can read more about the project here & here.


A Collaborative Platform for Making Change: Scaling up actions for biodiversity conservation (2016 – current)

Project collaborators: University of Oxford, BP International, Fauna and Flora International and the United National World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Funding: In-kind collaboration between the University of Oxford (NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship programme), BP International, FFI and the UN-WCMC

Summary: The Collaborative Platform for Making Change was established in August 2016. The Platform was convened to identify opportunities for collaboration between business, governments, science providers and NGOs, in support of the delivery of international biodiversity conservation priorities. The initiative was launched prior to the 2016 World Conservation Congress, and focussed on discussing the IUCN motions relevant to the private sector. To date the platform has consisted of an event series, including a webinar, questionnaire and workshop bringing together representatives from 20 business and industry associations, 10 NGOs and intergovernmental organisation, and 3 research organisations. A workshop report is available here. The platform aims to continue with a series of events in 2018.


The future of corporate biodiversity accounting and disclosure. A live project run at the Conservation Optimism Summit, London (2017).

Project collaborators: The University of Oxford, Balfour Beatty, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Earthmind, Fauna & Flora International, IUCN Global Business and Biodiversity Programme, Kering, Luc Hoffmann Institute, Natural Capital Coalition, The B Team, University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, Zoological Society of London.

Funding: Sponsorship from the Natural Environment Research Council

Summary: In April 2017 the Conservation Optimism summit played host to a very special session in London, which brought together representatives from business, NGOs and universities to discuss the emerging field of business & biodiversity. Our session focused on biodiversity accounting (e.g., the development of biodiversity metrics for business) and disclosure (e.g., communicating biodiversity performance in corporate social responsibility reports).

This session brought together 12 amazing panel members to share the latest research and best practice examples of business’ involvement in biodiversity conservation. You can watch and share our three-part video series on the outcomes of the Business & Biodiversity session here:

Part 1: Summary of the panel discussion on corporate biodiversity accounting and disclosure;

Part 2: Highlights from the corporate biodiversity accounting and disclosure Q&A session;

Part 3: Five panel members’ take-home messages from the session. Featuring: Mark Gough, (Executive Director, Natural Capital Coalition), Giulia Carbone (Deputy Director, IUCN Global Business and Biodiversity Programme), Martina di Fonzo (Postdoctoral researcher, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute), Pippa Howard (Director of Business & Biodiversity, Fauna & Flora International) and Keith Tuffley (CEO of The B Team).


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