April 16, 2012

The Business Case for Biodiversity

Each day this week leading up to Earth Day on April 22, GM’s BeyondNow blog is featuring a guest post written by a respected member of the sustainability community. Today’s post is written by Bob Johnson, president of the Wildlife Habitat Council.

Businesses not only affect the ecosystems in which they operate, but also depend on functioning ecosystems to remain in business. As biodiversity continues to disappear at an alarming rate, more companies are heeding the call to do their part and sustain biodiversity.

The Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) has focused its programs on this issue by informing people about biodiversity and its critical nature to sustaining life as we know it, and empowering them to engage biodiversity loss through voluntary wildlife habitat restoration and conservation education where they work. For more than 24 years, WHC has engaged more than 1500 corporate programs around the globe in on-the-ground conservation efforts aimed at improving wildlife habitat on corporate lands.

The importance of sustaining biodiversity cannot be overstated, as its loss is a business risk. As diversity declines, so, too, do the opportunities for new products and technologies, many of which are dependent on natural resources. The work of WHC’s members highlights not only their commitment to the environment, but also their recognition of how sustaining biodiversity benefits business.

Brand and Reputation
The presence of a strong corporate sustainability program can strengthen a company’s relationship with customers, regulators, community members and other stakeholders.

Consumers are becoming more aware of biodiversity loss and are looking to companies to see how they respond to this environmental crisis. The response of a company will increasingly define its profitability, as research has shown that the purchasing habits of consumers, to a greater extent, are being influenced by a company’s track record of sustainability and social responsibility.

Productivity and Morale
Involvement in company-sponsored conservation programs improves employee morale and creates a stronger bond not only between the employee and the company, but also between the employee and the community. This bond can also act as a recruitment and retention tool.

Employee Professional Development
Employees that participate in a company-sponsored conservation program see increased interaction with non-governmental organizations, public agencies and community members, broadening their perspective of company operations while also broadening their skill sets.

Companies can no longer afford to ignore their impact and dependence on biodiversity. Not only does it benefit the environment, but it just makes good business sense.

The Wildlife Habitat Council is a non-profit, non-lobbying group of corporations, conservation organizations and individuals dedicated to restoring and enhancing wildlife habitat.

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