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Biodiversity and our life support system

European business strategies add biodiversity to business laws and initiatives.

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Global Competitiveness

Europe is a tough market for many American companies to enter because their sustainability movement is ahead of ours. Many countries have tougher energy and water conservation laws than the US. Many are more stringent on agricultural controls...and now they are taking the lead on biodiversity protection. ISO standards are one indicator of global demands for sustainable practices and they affect competitiveness.

Biodiversity in the European Union

The European Union is developing a new initiative on business and biodiversity, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told a meeting of PriceWaterhouseCoopers executives Thursday, inviting them to take part in preserving the diversity of life on Earth. Stopping the loss of biodiversity by 2010 is a political priority for the EU, the commissioner said. "The initiative will not be a substitute for full compliance with existing environmental legislation and will aim to promote the engagement of business beyond their legal requirements."

In 2001, the European Union declared the goal of stopping the decline of biodiversity by 2010 - a pan-European objective proclaimed at the EU Gutenborg Council.

Loss of biodiversity is an urgent issue not only because there is an intrinsic value to nature and because we have a moral duty to act as responsible stewards of the planet, but also because nature underpins our economies.

"Protecting nature and the interests of business are often presented as being at opposite ends of the spectrum, but the reality is very different," Dimas said.

Nature provides the life-support system upon which our well-being and our economies depend," he said, explaining that the "ecosystem services" provided by nature include the provision of food, fuel and medicines as well as the regulation of air, water and climate. "Healthy and resilient ecosystems are our best defense against the impacts of climate change. One example is the disaster which struck New Orleans after hurricane Katrina when a majority of the city was flooded.

The use of sustainably produced biomass as an alternative fuel is just one alternative business strategy that can be considered to provide an additional source of income for communities previously dependent on traditional petroleum revenues.

The interaction between landscape identity and biodiversity, climate change and biodiversity, and support for safeguarding biodiversity hot spots are at the heart of sustainable business practices that support biodiversity.

SOURCE: Environment News Service

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| biodiversity | europe | governance |

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