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Invite Nature into the Boardroom

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For far too long, discussions around nature and biodiversity have been happening outside the boardroom. But with the tide turning, investors, regulators, and consumers are demanding action and we’re seeing a progressive trend towards representation for nature on boards. The underlying message is clear: biodiversity is not just a nice-to-have; it’s a critical business issue, and companies need to take a proactive stance.

Why does biodiversity matter?

Forget the idea of fluffy animals and scenic landscapes – biodiversity is the bedrock of a healthy planet. It underpins the very ecosystems that provide us with essential services like clean air, water, and pollination. 

Furthermore, we are nature and nature is us: it’s only in the last 150 years that humanity has come to see itself as distinct and separate from its biosphere. No other species fouls its nest in quite the same way that humans do. 

This natural capital is the lifeblood of countless industries, from agriculture to tourism. Any disruption to biodiversity threatens these ecological services, leading to economic and social instability and resource scarcity. On the flipside, by protecting, conserving and investing in biodiversity, companies are safeguarding the conditions for their own long-term survival and thrival. No brainer, right? 

How can you take action?

Integrating nature into your company’s strategic thinking doesn’t have to be overwhelming or start with a board appointment. Here’s a plan of action to get you started:

Step 1) Make the business case

  • Meet people where they are and speak the language of your boardroom to get the message across (finance people like numbers and marketing people like data). 
  • Identify how biodiversity loss threatens your supply chains, core business model, resource availability, and future profits. 
  • Translate this into a single clear message about risk mitigation and point out the potential costs vs benefits of addressing/not addressing it. Consider storytelling, with a single idea that is both evocative and persuasive. 

Step 2) Start small

  • Pilot a biodiversity initiative in one department to showcase its effectiveness. This could involve implementing sustainable sourcing practices or investing in a habitat restoration project.
  • Ensure that its effectiveness is measured in terms of scaleable outcomes (as opposed to just activities or outputs) that can be linked to the business case discussed above.

Step 3) Seek guidance and collaborate

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. Resources like the TNFD LEAP process offer frameworks for identifying your nature-related risks and opportunities.
  • Collaborate with organisations such as UK Business & Biodiversity Forum for best practices and data sets.
  • Seek insights from indigenous wisdom keepers, activists, NGO leaders and experienced consultants like Greenheart

Step 4) Engage your value chain

  • Your company’s impact extends beyond its walls. Partner with suppliers who share your commitment to protecting and nurturing biodiversity. Work to influence those who aren’t yet there. 
  • Leverage the upcoming EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive to drive collaboration with suppliers.

Step 5) Continue focussing on measurable outcomes

  • Don’t get bogged down in endless reports and data crunching – focus on taking action and recording outcomes
  • Quantify your efforts and translate them into tangible results. 
  • Demonstrate how your actions are creating a more resilient business model and unlocking new commercial opportunities.

The bottom line is that by integrating biodiversity into your company’s strategy, you’re not just protecting the environment; you’re protecting your company’s future, and that of the life systems on which it relies. As Herman Daly said in the 1980s: “the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way round.”

By taking small actions today you can ensure nature has a voice in your boardroom for generations to come. 

If you would like to speak with us about how to bring biodiversity into your boardroom email contact@greenheartbusiness.com 

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