Endangered species & habitats

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Does your business have any policies in place to conserve biodiversity?

EXCELLENT Answers

No EXCELLENT answers have been published for this question.

GOOD Answers

No GOOD answers have been published for this question.

POOR Answers

No POOR answers have been published for this question.

This Scorecard is due to be updated in 2018

The natural environment, and the diverse biological resources it encompasses, are fundamental to existence. The unsustainable use of a vulnerable habitat, the exploitation of endangered species or the unchecked harnessing of non-renewable/exhaustible resources are all grave threats to the health of the environment.

Commercial exploitation of natural resources has highly adverse socio-economic and environmental consequences and hence businesses have a responsibility to minimise the impact of commercial activities on surrounding areas. Well-managed resources bring considerable sustainable benefits to a community through food security, employment and income; conversely, their mismanagement leads to social instability. Scarcity and/or inequitable access to natural resources is a major source of conflict throughout the world.

Profit-centric environmental practices will only aggravate this problem. Current corporate accounting systems tend to externalise the costs of biodiversity loss, and look only at the short-term economic benefit of development. This incentivises indifference to the environment, at best, and maximum exploitation for profit, at worst.

It is now increasingly obvious that sustainable business is no longer just an ethical choice. Businesses have to realise that their very survival is critically dependent on the environment that they are a part of. Only those companies who make conscious, concerted efforts to incorporate environmental concerns into everyday practices will survive in a future clouded by risk and uncertainty posed by issues such as climate change. In addition, there are also definite gains in terms of regulatory approval and public appreciation. Investment in green technology is a big step forward in this direction.

Many of the issues surrounding natural resources are interdependent. These are three of the most prominent examples of commercial activities that pose a threat to scarce natural resources:

  1. Mismanagement of a renewable resource: Both fish stocks and timber are considered renewable natural resources because they can be sustained or replenished over time. However, overfishing and unsustainable logging threaten this replenishment and as a result the world's oceans and forests are losing their biodiversity at an accelerating rate. Effective management regimes are crucial to their long-term survival. Increasingly these are transboundary, global problems rather than just national ones.

  2. Overuse of a finite resource: Rapidly depleting stocks of a finite resource may impact both the human activities that heavily rely on the resource, and also the ecosystems that depend on that resource. For example, peat bogs are fragile habitats containing unique plant and animal species. For centuries they have been drained for agriculture, but in the last 100 years they have been rapidly depleted by commercial peat use. They are now recognised to be immensely important in the sequestration of carbon dioxide and the reduction of global warming.

  3. Over-concentration of a single resource to the detriment of biodiversity: Excessive cultivation of a single natural resource can damage scarce, unique or fragile habitats and related existing flora and fauna. The world's forests, swamps, lakes and other habitats continue to disappear as companies make way for agriculture, roads, pipelines and all the other hallmarks of industrial development. For example, the rapid expansion of palm oil plantations is leading to the destruction of rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia. This has a devastating impact, replacing one of the most species-rich ecosystems in the world with monoculture plantations.

Biodiversity

'Biodiversity' can refer to genetic, species or ecosystem variation. For practical reasons of monitoring, this question refers to biodiversity as species variation, which is the number of flora and fauna in a site or habitat.

Endangered species

'Endangered Species' are any living organism threatened with extinction because a) its numbers have declined to a critical level or b) because its habitat has become so reduced it can no longer support the population. These might be either man-made or natural changes. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has a Red List of species officially classified as 'Threatened' or 'Endangered'.

Green technology

'Green technology' is the application of knowledge for practical purposes which is environmentally friendly, developed and used in such a way so that it conserves natural resources and biodiversity.

Habitat

'Habitat' is the dynamic natural environment in which an organism or population lives. It may refer to all of the organisms and their physical, chemical and biological environment in a particular place. In its widest sense, it refers to the major assemblages of plants and animals found together.

Non-renewable natural resources

'Non-renewable natural resources' are natural resources that cannot be replaced or replenished after exploitation, either naturally or by human action. These include fossil fuel products and mineral resources because they are regenerated on a geological, rather than human time scale. Once non-renewable resources are used, they cannot be replenished either naturally or by human action.

Renewable natural resources

'Renewable natural resources' are natural resources that can be replaced or replenished by natural processes or by human action. Renewable natural resources, such as plants and animals, water and topsoil, can be replenished and may be used indefinitely if the rate of extraction does not exceed the rate of renewal and there is a minimal level of stock.

Answering YES

All Businesses MUST

State their business sector

Explain any threat they pose to vulnerable habitats, or specifically to endangered or threatened species of plants or animals designated by the Red Book list

Describe what policies and guidelines they have to mitigate these effects, such as audits, planning measures and mitigating precautions

All Businesses MAY

Describe any future plans to reduce use of the scarce natural resource, find sustainable alternatives, protect vulnerable habitats or improve operations

Answering NO

All Businesses MUST

State their business sector

Explain why they do not have any policies to conserve biodiversity

All Businesses MAY

Still answer NO even if they are reliant on transport networks that are dependent on fossil fuels

Mention any use of natural resources and the actions that they take to ensure their sustainable use, such as using those with sustainable management certifications

Describe any specific efforts to preserve scarce natural resources or promote biodiversity

DON'T KNOW is not a permissible answer to this question

NOT APPLICABLE is not a permissible answer to this question

Version 1

To receive a score of 'Excellent'

Support for biodiversity embedded in company philosophy and values

Examples of policies and practices which may support an EXCELLENT statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Conservation is part of key statement of philosophy and value
  2. Invests in green technologies to avoid biodiversity loss and resource exploitation
  3. Constantly improves product design by substituting scarce materials
  4. Practices and policies avoid biodiversity loss and resource exploitation
  5. Constant consultation of experts to improve
  6. Discusses the issue with employees and supply chain
  7. The company extends the importance it places on conservation to supply chain and decisions outside of the company (i.e. it tries to use suppliers or sell to companies that also engage in conservation)
  8. Regularly monitors and measures impact on biodiversity and resource availability
  9. Clear assessment method outlined
To receive a score of 'Good'

Clear policies on biodiversity conservation

Examples of policies and practices which may support a GOOD statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Consumes mixed sources of energy which includes renewable energy
  2. Identifies the possible threats to habitat, scarce resources and endangered species and have clear strategy to mitigate the threats
  3. Ensures that all purchases made are from sustainable sources
  4. Resource use monitored and evaluated regularly
To receive a score of 'Okay'

Ad hoc attempts to support or conserve biodiversity

Examples of policies and practices which may support an OKAY statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Some minimal attempts to address biodiversity and resource conservation
  2. Nature of business means not involved in any activities that might overuse resources or have an impact on habitats i.e. service industry
To receive a score of 'Poor'

Little or no consideration to support or conserve biodiversity

Examples of policies and practices which may support a POOR statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. No efforts made despite impact on biodiversity and natural resources
  2. Small company/sole trader