Business and Biodiversity: Assessing the Practical Benefits to Business

September 2005


Business and biodiversity have an important relationship.There is increased attention on biodiversity in policy and legislation and from a wide range of organisations and the public who demand that both public and private sectors adopt a responsible approach to biodiversity. This attention also creates opportunities – there are business benefits to working positively with biodiversity and building biodiversity into business management and strategy.

The research was commissioned by SNIFFER to identify the potential business benefits of providing support to biodiversity.  Of particular interest were financial benefits of supporting biodiversity. The project developed case studies of businesses to identify initiatives that provide support for biodiversity, the business reasons for them, and benefits that result.

The research identified a number of businesses across Scotland and Northern Ireland that are protecting and providing habitats on their site, working with other organisations to support wildlife near their property, and including biodiversity in procurement decisions. The research has identified the following key business benefits from involvement in biodiversity initiatives:

The most commonly cited benefit was to reputation, although the focus of this differed between organisations, with some finding that there were benefits with customers, some with regulators, some with planners, and some with interest groups.

The research has focused on exploring the quantitative elements of business benefits. However it has found that businesses respond to a variety of motivations and experience a range of benefits, not only financial results. In providing advice and support to businesses it will be necessary to reflect this range of motivating factors to ensure that businesses are inspired to become involved in providing support for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity.

Keywords: business benefits, biodiversity, wildlife, corporate responsibility

N.B. The report is available for download from the SNIFFER Website