What is Biodiversity and why protect it ?
Biodiversity is the variety of all life on earth from the smallest micro-organism to the complex system that is
a rainforest. it includes the habitats and ecosystems which support this life and how life-forms interact with each other and
the rest of the environment. Biodiversity is important because it provides a source of significant economic, environmental, health and cultural benefits. It provides us with a large amount of goods and services (such as food, medicine, raw materials and clothing) that help us to sustain life on earth. It is these goods and services that allow us to live on this planet. The wellbeing and prosperity of the earth’s ecological balance as well as human society directly depend on the extent and status of biological diversity. Businesses depend on the earth’s biological resources as essential components and services for the operation of their day-to-day activities, such as clean water and raw materials. It is therefore important that there is a sustainable supply of these resources to ensure economic growth. However, biodiversity is constantly under threat both here in ireland and globally. Activities such as increased development, inappropriate agricultural practices, poorly managed afforestation and climate change have all put pressure on Ireland’s biodiversity with the result that many species of plant and animal are now under threat of extinction. It is vital, therefore that all sectors in society play their part in the protection of biodiversity. These guidelines show some simple ways that businesses can take action to halt the loss of biodiversity.
What is a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) ?
A Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) is a means of managing your site and activites to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity through developing management plans for your organisation. A BAP is basically a management system for your site and organisational activites which can be integrated into your environmental management system. These can include simple measures on site management and on policies, e.g. purchasing policy. Developing a BAP needn’t be a daunting process and plans
can be prepared for individual sites as well as for the business as a whole. In developing the BAP, it is important to get those at the appropriate level involved at an early stage to ensure success and if you already have company guidelines (e.g. from parent company) it is important that any proposed actions recognise this.
Why do a Biodiversity Action Plan ?
Creating a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for your organisation can help you to plan, manage and monitor the habitats on your site. It provides you with a managed plan that will help you to put the correct procedures in place to conserve biodiversity on your site. It doesn’t matter whether you are part of a multinational organisation or an sMe, every business can play their part in protecting biodiversity. The following are some advantages of putting a BAP in place:
1. Depending on the activity or location of a particular business, biodiversity or an
aspect of biodiversity may be threatened in which case a business must comply with
legislation that has been put in place to protect biodiversity. A BAP will therefore help
compliance with this legislation.
2. It can be integrated into existing management systems and procedures such as your
environmental management system and help to address biodiversity issues raised
3. It can improve all stakeholder relations (e.g. employees, local community, customers
Involvement in biodiversity improvement and protection, especially in the area
surrounding one's business location, can be an important part of a company's
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme. A BAP can help formalise this.
4. It can appeal to etical customers
The following are some examples of actions that Knotweedcontrol.ie can take as part of your action plan to help protect or improve biodiversity on your site. After the initial survey of your property we will prepare a report that high-lights the following guidelines along with other potenial sustainable schemes like rain water harvesting and car sharing.
1. Plant native species of trees and shrubs suitable for your site.
2. reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers, using certain native species can attract insects that are natural pest controllers. for example ladybirds eat aphids and greenfly so are handy to have around your rose bushes.
3. Identify any conservation designations on land owned or nearby the site that may potentially be impacted on by your activities.
for example is there a nearby river that your businesses activities could impact on.
4. Leave or develop current wildlife areas and consider creating new areas including wetlands such as ponds.
5. Put up bat and bird boxes in appropriate positions on the site.
6. The buildings on your site may support many different species. it is important to acknowledge this and take it into account when doing renovation or building works.
7. E nsure correct management of hedgerows and appropriate grass cutting.
8. Change from using peat compost to peat free compost, or create your own compost on site from food waste.
9. You can improve your local environment and built relationships with your local community through sponsorship of community native gardens or support local awareness or education programmes on biodiversity.
10. During the designing of future projects and site development, ensure that contractors adhere to the company Biodiversity policy and the Action Plan.
Even if you don’t have any gardens / nearby land you can still contribute to protecting biodiversity. The following are some actions you can take:
1. Place a Bat/bird box outside your building to provide nesting and roost sites.
2. Sponsor the planting of native trees in the locality
3. Support your local Tidy Towns or other community groups in their attempts to protect and enhance biodiversity
4. Ensure your raw materials are from sustainable sources e.g. buying wood that has forest stewardship Council (FSC) or similar certification. ie. Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
To see an example BAP report and map please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Biodiversity means business
All businesses depend in some way on biodiversity and natural resources. For some this dependence is quite obvious e.g. forestry, fishing and agriculture depend directly on a healthy set of biodiversity services. while pharmaceutical companies depend on biological material in the creation of their products. However, whatever the sector most businesses use natural resources, such as paper,wood, and clean water as part of their operations.
At the same time businesses can also have significant impacts on biodiversity either directly or indirectly through the supply chain. The extent of these impacts will vary, with industries in the extractive, construction and energy sectors for example having a more obvious impact. For many other businesses, their supply chain decisions may see an impact on the biodiversity of another country of which they are largely unaware. Understanding and sustainably managing these impacts will be essential for these industries to obtain operating licenses and to develop and maintain good relationships with stakeholders such as local communities.
Businesses and biodiversity are thus intrinsically linked to each other. It is in the interest of businesses that our biodiversity is healthy and sustainable in order for the provision of these resources and services to continue. Because of this interconnection and the reliance of business on biodiversity, damage, loss or disruption to biodiversity can be a serious risk to business affecting supply chains, and therefore your business model.
Unfortunately, biodiversity loss is emerging as a threat equal to that of climate change. As biodiversity disappears, businesses along with societies and governments lose access to the services and resources that nature provides for free. Trying to replace these services with artificial alternatives is at best difficult and expensive; at worst it’s impossible.
So why should businesses take action?
There is a compelling business case to take action to protect biodiversity which focusses around reducing the risks and taking advantage of opportunities. Biodiversity loss could result in the loss or scarcity of key resources on which the company depends either directly or indirectly. In addition this trend is likely to result in increased government regulation. Both of these risks, if not adequately addressed could lead to significant costs for a business and in some cases the very viability of the business threatened.
A lack of understanding or action on biodiversity also has the potential to damage a company’s reputation and affect its investment opportunities as both consumers and investors become more rigorous and critical in how they perceive a company’s risk or view its operations. In addition, damage caused to biodiversity by a company could incur huge clean-up and/or insurance costs which can detrimentally affect the bottom line.
On the other hand, businesses that take action on biodiversity in a timely and strategic manner can gain first-mover advantage, enhance their reputation, save costs and increase potential for investment.
At Knotweed Control Ireland, we understand the foundational role of environmental sustainability in social and economic sustainability, which is why we think Irish business has a part to play in ensuring the protection, restoration and sustainable use of biodiversity.
See below an example of a Biodiversity Action Plan for County Wicklow.