Biodiversity Mainstreaming

Biodiversity supplies a wide variety of services on which businesses depend. Examples include crop pollination, water filtration, flood attenuation, erosion control and many others. However, biodiversity is under severe threat globally and the private sector is one of the primary drivers of its degradation and loss. Increasingly, biodiversity is being recognised as a key part of corporate sustainability. Sustainable Development Goals 14 “life below water” and 15 “life on land” make biodiversity a top priority on the international development agenda.

What is biodiversity?

The international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines “biodiversity” as the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part. This includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems.

What is biodiversity mainstreaming?

Integrating biodiversity into your business strategies and activities is a process called biodiversity mainstreaming. Your biodiversity mainstreaming journey will raise a number of questions for your business and its stakeholders. Answering these questions will require strategic thinking, time and resources. To help you identify these key questions and address the associated uncertainties and challenges, we have developed biodiversity mainstreaming guidelines.

Our complete biodiversity mainstreaming guidelines will be released later in 2019.

Download the new report “Invitation to join the Biodiversity Disclosure Project - A study of the biodiversity performance of South African companies”.


Register your interest to participate in the first BD Protocol consultation process in 2019.


Many businesses are already on the biodiversity mainstreaming journey. Here is a selection of case studies from various industries.


Our biodiversity mainstreaming guidelines comprise nine steps. While these steps are organised sequentially to help you navigate your biodiversity mainstreaming journey, you can learn more about any of them at any point in time, depending on the current biodiversity performance of your business or your interests.

These biodiversity mainstreaming guidelines are designed to help you:

  • Understand why biodiversity matters to your business;
  • Identify the biodiversity dependencies and impacts of your company;
  • Measure these biodiversity dependencies and impacts;
  • Assess whether these biodiversity dependencies and impacts have material consequences for your business or its stakeholders;
  • Develop biodiversity policies, targets, strategies, action plans and key performance indicators;
  • Effectively manage biodiversity dependencies and impacts so as to avoid or minimise the associated risks and seize the associated opportunities;
  • Disclose meaningful biodiversity information according to the needs and expectations of different stakeholders, from management to external non-governmental organisations.

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