New Roadmap Provides Guidelines for Businesses Operating in Biologically Important Wildlands

The Key Biodiversity Area Partnership involving 12 of the world’s leading conservation organizations, including Global Wildlife Conservation, today issued a roadmap for businesses operating in, or impacting, some of the most biologically significant places on the planet.

The report, Guidelines on Business and KBAs: Managing Risk to Biodiversity, outlines steps that businesses can take to actively safeguard biodiversity and avoid contributing to its loss. It recommends businesses of all sizes and across all sectors adopt 15 guidelines to better manage their direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on places deemed critical for the conservation of species and ecosystems worldwide, known as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). It addresses issues such as avoidance of impacts, limits to biodiversity offsets, as well as financial guarantees and corporate reporting. It guides businesses in managing the potential losses and other risks associated with their negative impact on biodiversity, including potential impacts on access to financing and increased company exposure to negative press.

“KBAs play a vital and global role in the overall health of our planet, so businesses need to take extra caution when planning or undertaking commercial activities in or near these sites and some activities should be avoided altogether,” said Penny Langhammer, director of Key Biodiversity Areas for the Amphibian Survival Alliance. “This roadmap provides concrete steps that companies, financial institutions and governments can take to ensure that their business activities maintain the species and habitats for which these sites are so important.”

The report and associated website aims to help businesses demonstrate good environmental practice and compliance with voluntary sustainability standards or certification schemes. It also explains how companies operating in KBAs can make a positive contribution to biodiversity by investing in conservation actions and sharing relevant information about the KBAs, including data collected in Environmental Impact Assessments, baseline studies and monitoring activities, with the KBA Partners. Its aim is to assist governments in authorization decisions related to business operations.

“These new guidelines will help businesses protect the most important natural places on our planet, and so preserve the natural resources they so strongly depend on,” said Inger Andersen, IUCN director general. “By managing their impacts on nature, businesses deliver positive conservation results, helping address the escalating crisis of biodiversity loss.”

Following the adoption in 2016 of a global standard for the identification of KBAs, the KBA Partnership was created to map, monitor and conserve the areas. More than 15,000 KBAs have been identified so far, many of which currently support commercial activities, such as farming, fisheries, forestry and mining. Although the global KBA network does not yet cover all geographical regions or species groups, the KBA Partnership is working to fill these gaps.

“The Tiffany & Co. Foundation is proud to support IUCN in this important effort to protect some of the world’s most biologically rich and diverse places,” said Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chairman and president of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, which funded the project. “These guidelines provide an important roadmap for businesses committed to advancing the long-term preservation and stewardship of the Earth’s natural resources, which all of society depends on.”