Companies are becoming increasingly aware of their impact on biodiversity and natural capital. This may result from their implicit dependence on natural capital, from increasingly more critical consumers, or from the genuine concern of company managers and owners. Consequently, companies have an increasing need for tools to enable them to gain insight into their impact on biodiversity, and to measure and assess the effects of measures to limit this impact.
Plansup has developed in collaboration with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra), CREM and JSScience a biodiversity footprint methodology. Studies were initiated by The Natural Captains project of the Platform Biodiversity, Ecosystems & Economy (Platform BEE). This Platform is stimulating companies to translate thinking and working with natural capital into tangible actions. This means making visible the impact of their activities on biodiversity and natural capital in terms of their biodiversity footprint. One way to assess a company’s impact on biodiversity is to measure the biodiversity footprint of their current activities and possibly also to compare this footprint with that of alternative measures.
Two studies have been carried out. In the first Plansup study (van Rooij, 2016) the established GLOBIO biodiversity impact assessment method by PBL has been adapted to determine the biodiversity impact of companies, and of their products and services. The resulting biodiversity footprint method was tested in three case studies and has now been extended and applied a further six case studies in the Natural Captains project. See for more information and the resulting study reports the Footprint companies web page of this website.
Based on these case studies, the method has been evaluated for wider application. For this purpose, a simplified Biodiversity Footprint Tool has been developed in which the integrated impact of two pressure factors – land use and greenhouse gas emissions – can be uniformly determined. The tool is still under development but will be made operational soon in collaboration with IUCN. A description of the web tool can be found at the naturalcapitaltoolkit website.