Reconciling economic activity with biodiversity calls for a twofold initiative: firstly encouraging businesses to take action and secondly creating new methods for them to do so. « Integrating biodiversity into business strategies » is designed to meet this dual need.
The research performed by the Orée-Institut français de la biodiversité Working Group has confirmed that biodiversity determines the development of a great number of enterprises. Selfassessments, through the application of the Business and Biodiversity Interdependence Indicator, present the selfperceptions of a range of businesses and local governments relative to their interdependence with biodiversity. These self-perceptions underline the fact that the economy as a whole interacts directly and indirectly with living systems.
It is commonly supposed that biodiversity can be sustained by putting a price on it. In reality this is a counterproductive approach. The method proposed by the ‘Bilan Carbone’ measures the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by all the physical processes required to sustain specific human activities or organisations, insofar as their boundaries are clearly defi nable. It does not, and is not designed to take account the interactions between living systems and businesses.
The Biodiversity Accountability Framework is thus proposed as an alternative, interdisciplinary method, structured to highlight and delimit the responsibility of organisations to ecosystems. For its implementation to be profitable, and for companies to adopt this approach in a thoroughgoing way, it requires rethinking the present modes of regulation.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) underscored the urgency of the situation, as did the preliminary results of the COPI study (2008) bearing on the costs of inaction relative to biodiversity loss. This guide aims to shorten the time needed for the discussions that will lead to the reintegration of economic activity within biodiversity.
When the underlying goal is the co-viability of biodiversity and business, the question is simple: How can profits be used to diversify living systems, and how can biodiversity become a source of increased profits?