The private sector has a major role to play in how we manage, safeguard and invest in our natural capital. Business and enterprise directly and indirectly impact upon our shared environment, depend on healthy ecosystems and biodiversity for production, finance and undergird economic activity and growth, and market ecosystem services or biodiversity-related products.
As such, biodiversity loss and ecosystem service decline present both serious risks and significant opportunities for the private sector, which are expected to increase over time. Private sector awareness regarding its relationship with biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) is growing, and ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity’ (TEEB) initiative is one of many reports offering practical tools and guidance for companies and governments to measure, value and report their impacts and dependencies on nature.
Public sector policies provide the context within which private sector decisions are framed. Carefully constructed public sector policies can ensure a stable long term investment environment, can encourage pro-biodiversity private sector action, intentionally or unintentionally discourage environmentally harmful private sector behaviour, and can generally leverage public sector investments into better natural wealth management toward enhancing the human condition.
Unfortunately, the pace of progress in terms of enabling policy as well as private sector decision making has been slow and inadequate. A higher level of commitment and collaboration is needed from business and corporate decision-makers with policymakers toward more socially and environmentally responsible and sustainable business practice and creating the policy context to encourage it.
The purpose of this session is to discuss opportunities for enhancing the role of public policy in influencing and enabling pro-biodiversity private sector action.