Understanding Biodiversity and Its Importance
The importance of biodiversity and the need for innovative strategies to address its rapid decline is becoming increasingly clear. Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is not just a buzzword but a critical component of our planet’s health. It’s the intricate web of life that supports our ecosystems, providing us with essential services like food, water, and climate regulation. However, our planet’s biodiversity is under threat, with global wildlife populations having fallen by 69% on average since 1970, according to the World Wildlife Fund’s ‘The Living Planet Report 2022.
Challenges in Measuring Biodiversity Impact
The challenge we face is that our current tools and strategies for addressing biodiversity loss are falling short. The Aichi Biodiversity Standards, for example, set global biodiversity goals for 2020, but only four were partially met, and 16 were missed entirely. This highlights the urgent need for new approaches to biodiversity accounting and management.
Biodiversity is not just an environmental issue; it’s also a business concern. Companies and investors are becoming increasingly aware of the risks associated with biodiversity loss. Depleted natural resources, degraded water, air, and soil quality, and disrupted weather patterns can all pose significant threats to a company’s ability to operate and, by extension, to the economy as a whole.
The focus on carbon emissions often overshadows the more nuanced environmental truths that only a detailed analysis of a company’s biodiversity footprint can reveal. For instance, a company might claim carbon neutrality by offsetting the emissions from distributing a widely used agrochemical. However, the ecological damage to soil, biodiversity, local waterways, and people caused by the use of that chemical remains unaccounted for.
The Role of Biodiversity Accounting
To address these challenges, we need to develop new tools and strategies. One promising approach is biodiversity accounting, which provides investors with information about a company’s dependence on ecosystem services. This can help prevent blind spots in a company’s investment case and ensure that ‘hidden’ impacts are integrated into the business case, potentially directly impacting profitability.
However, measuring biodiversity risk is not straightforward. Unlike carbon, biodiversity does not have an intrinsic value and is more complicated to assess. It requires extensive effort to monitor the state and condition of biodiversity at specific locations. Despite these challenges, there are several frameworks and tools available to help businesses and financial institutions measure their biodiversity impact, such as the Biodiversity Footprint Financial Institutions (BFFI), the Global Biodiversity Score (GBS), and the Corporate Biodiversity Footprint (CBS).
Floodlights Biodiversity Data: A Solution for Corporates
Floodlights biodiversity data offers a comprehensive solution for corporates to measure their biodiversity impact. The product includes Global Protected Areas, Tribal & Native Population regions, and Species Richness Mapping, based on the IUCN Red List, with geographic ranges of species at or near an asset location. We derive several KPIs, such as species richness and Rarity-Weighted Richness, which are based on the count and distribution of critically endangered, vulnerable, and threatened species at or in the proximity of an asset. Floodlight’s biodiversity product covers risks to both terrestrial and marine species.
Additionally, Floodlights provides data on deforestation using Landsat Satellite data since 2000, offering insights into potential risks to wildlife habitat and deforestation. Floodlight’s biodiversity product also covers deforestation loss, which is a critical metric for measuring carbon emissions attributed to timber, mining, or other companies that cut trees for their operation. Additionally product incorporates risks to tribal and native populations while addressing social equity and justice.
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