The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Nedbank Limited, Hatch Goba, De Beers, Transnet, Pam Golding Properties and Pick n Pay, is proud to announce the launch of the National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN).
The aim of the Network is to assist businesses from various sectors to integrate and mainstream biodiversity issues into their strategies and operations. It is designed to be an open and inclusive association of likeminded organisations that have recognised the need to raise awareness of, and stimulate conversation about, biodiversity issues amongst the business community.
“Government and businesses are realising that the economic and social development of the country is dependent on healthy ecosystems and biodiversity. The South African National Development Plan: Vision 2030 confirms that national economic growth is dependent on the environmental sustainability of our proposed development path. The Plan refers to the need for transformation to ensure environmental sustainability by addressing the structural and systemic flaws of the economy and society with strength of leadership, boldness, visionary thinking and innovative planning,” said Dr Marie Parramon-Gurney, the EWT’s Head of Conservation and Business.
Determining environmental impacts essential
Our natural resources, including water, wildlife, soil and flora, are essential for the country’s development and businesses are, as a consequence, also inextricably linked to the wellbeing and sustainable use of these resources. Therefore, the management of natural capital has to become an essential component of the formal risk management and governance of businesses. For organisations to remain competitive they have to identify their current and future impacts and dependencies on the environment. By doing so in a pro-active and collaborative approach, industry will also be able to identify opportunities related to the management of natural resources.
“In response to this new business imperative, the EWT has led the establishment of the NBBN in alignment with government’s objective to build strategic partnerships in order to achieve an environmentally friendly developmental path. The EWT will be spearheading the activities of the NBBN in alignment with the model of the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity of the Convention on Biological Diversity and in collaboration with the founding and supporting partners, as well as the other members of the Network as they join in months to come.”
“The Network will provide a national platform to stimulate a strategic discussion about biodiversity and business and the development of a national agenda in this context. Amongst other things, the network will facilitate the development and provision of relevant information, tools, resources, benchmarks, pilot-studies and strategic support to businesses looking to mainstream biodiversity issues. In order to do so, the Network will organise various events, forums, training sessions and an annual conference. Any company can become a member or partner of the Network at any time,” commented Dr Parramon-Gurney.
The Network would not be possible without the buy-in of founding partners the DEA, Nedbank Limited, De Beers, Hatch Goba, Transnet, Pam Golding Properties and Pick n Pay. The EWT is committed to leading the activities of the Network and will ensure that the Network facilitates the development of collaborative, constructive approaches and solutions to guide the mainstreaming of biodiversity considerations into business and the economic development path of the country.
QUOTES FROM THE NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY AND BUSINESS NETWORK FOUNDING PARTNERS:
South Africa is a signatory party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Parties to the CBD have for some time been exploring ways to enhance private-sector collaboration in achieving the goals of the CBD. Decisions taken at the Conference of the Parties called upon governments to “…support the establishment of national and regional business and biodiversity initiatives. This Biodiversity and Business network is in response to our international obligations and will assist companies in understanding and mainstreaming the goals of the Convention and the Aichi Targets.” Nationally, the network will help facilitate the mainstreaming or internalization of biodiversity imperatives into the private sector. – Department of Environmental Affairs.
“We are proud to be one of the founding partners of the National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN) and believe it is a turning point for integrating biodiversity into South African business agendas and operations. When biodiversity is threatened, the health of our planet and all its ecosystems is threatened too. These ecosystems, whether they are aquatic – the oceans and rivers that give us water and seafood – or land based – supporting our farmers in growing crops and raising animals – are at the very base of all our operations at PnP. Without these ecosystems, we would not be able to bring products to our customers.” – Bronwen Rohland, Director of Sustainability and Marketing at Pick n Pay.
“Nedbank believes that it is only through a shared understanding of integrated sustainability issues, including biodiversity, and collective responsibility that we will achieve a mutually desirable future. Our hope is that the National Biodiversity and Business Network will be the catalyst for such.” – Brigitte Burnett, Head of Sustainability at Nedbank Limited.
“De Beers recognises the importance of collaboration and by participating in and supporting the Biodiversity and Business Network, demonstrates that businesses need not impose any limits on ambitions to contribute positively to mainstreaming biodiversity into economic development and restoring our natural capital base.” – Phillip Barton, CEO of De Beers Consolidated Mines.
“Hatch Goba, through its extensive involvement in the development of new projects in the mining, energy and infrastructure sectors, recognises the value of integrating biodiversity considerations into our business processes and is proud to be involved in this new initiative.” – Max Clark, Director of Environmental Services Group at Hatch Goba.
“It is indeed a privilege to play a role in the protection of our country’s natural assets and resources, as it our responsibility and our duty, as corporate citizens, to ensure this legacy for future generations. It is beyond question that this natural capital is integral to a sustainable growth economy and the more that we, as South African business, can integrate this consciousness into our business strategies, the better we can prepare for a prosperous future. Needless to say, this mission is integral to our obligation in being respected as the country’s leading real estate organisation and we look forward to making a valuable contribution accordingly.” – Anthony Stroebel, Chief Marketing Officer of Pam Golding.
“Transnet is honoured to be a founding partner of this cutting edge initiative. One that will hopefully serve its purpose and ensure that the protection of our natural heritage becomes as much a part of the way we do business in this country, as the economic considerations that underpin business decisions themselves. As a state-owned company and the custodian of South Africa’s railway, ports and pipelines, Transnet is committed to ensuring the Government’s objectives for sustainable development are achieved and recognises the success of these objectives, complex as they are, rests heavily on corporate society’s ability to approach them in a cooperative and collaborative way.” – Khathutshelo Tshipala, Environmental Manager at Transnet.
For further information about the Network contact Dr Parramon-Gurney on firstname.lastname@example.org.