Last weekend, a UN conference on biodiversity took place in Montreal. After much negotiation, an agreement was finally reached to combat the rapid loss of biodiversity. Nearly 200 UN countries agreed that by 2030, as much as 30% of the earth’s total surface should be protected. For now, the figure is only 15%. Although it is an abstract topic, it also matters to you as a business owner. In this blog, you can read what biodiversity means, what it means for you as a business and how you can contribute to it.
The Montreal UN biodiversity conference 2022 is widely compared to the 2015 Paris climate conference. What the UN conference in Paris meant for climate then, this Montreal conference means for biodiversity. Nearly 200 UN countries travelled to Canada in recent weeks to negotiate new and stronger agreements to combat biodiversity problems. With the resulting agreement, these countries hope to protect ecosystems and plant and animal species. What the exact measures will be is not clear for now. However, it has been decided to reduce subsidies harmful to biodiversity by $500 billion a year, and food waste and the use of pesticides and harmful chemicals will be halved. This will also be more strictly controlled.
Biodiversity is indispensable for restoring ecosystems and thus global healthy living conditions. However, it also appears that the concept still carries a lot of ignorance.
Especially in discussions related to climate and sustainability, the term biodiversity is often mentioned. But what does it actually mean? And why is it so important when talking about sustainability?
Simply put, biodiversity refers to all life on earth. This can range from plants and animals to fungi and microorganisms. You can think of trees and animals as well as rivers, estuaries and residential areas. It is actually a large body of living organisms and systems. In recent decades, biodiversity has declined at a rapid pace. Research shows, for example, that between 1970 and 2018, vertebrate populations shrank by as much as 69%. It also indicates that freshwater species have declined sharply with an 83% decline.
Despite the fact that biodiversity may seem like an abstract concept, it comes in many facets. For instance, it affects our groundwater and hence agricultural crops. It also plays a role in polluting the food chain and other natural resources. This is linked to building materials, medicines and industrial raw materials.
So protecting biodiversity is very important for many reasons. But what would happen if we did nothing about the current crisis? In both the short- and long-term, this could have many major consequences. Here you can think of deforestation, making farmland unusable. But the extinction of various fish species due to ocean pollution is another good example.
SDGs and biodiversity
Already, the 193 member countries of the United Nations have drawn up 17 Sustainable Development Goals to push organisations and individuals towards sustainability developments. For instance, the theme of SDG goal 15 is biodiversity and focuses on various threats facing nature.
Biodiversity within SMEs
People underestimate the impact of SMEs. After all, they are the backbone of the economy, so their impact on biodiversity is significant. A contribution from SMEs in protecting it is therefore also definitely important. Every step in the right direction has a share in improving biodiversity, and so does achieving the UN targets.
Several companies already feel the need to contribute to biodiversity, but how they can achieve this and what this then means for their business activities often still proves complicated.
Ways to contribute to biodiversity as an entrepreneur can vary enormously, but many SMEs have already made great strides in this regard. For instance, companies have improved their energy efficiency or changed their land management. Many entrepreneurs have also already improved their waste management and/or increased their resource efficiency.
What can I do?
Biodiversity measures are often seen as another burden for SMEs, which are already busy with their day-to-day operations. They often lack the necessary resources to address the issue. Also, SMEs often do not have the time to collect data to set targets and measure progress.
Biodiversity is an important aspect of mapping sustainability. That is why our platform is also geared toward this. This provides you with specific questions and concrete improvements on sustainability. We also offer personal guidance in the form of consultative support.
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