Using conservation science to advance corporate biodiversity accountability

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Prue F.E. Addison
  • Joseph W. Bull
  • E.J. Milner-Gulland
Biodiversity declines threaten the sustainability of global economies and societies. Acknowledging this, businesses are beginning to make commitments to account for and mitigate their influence on biodiversity and report this in sustainability reports. We assessed the top 100 of the 2016 Fortune 500 Global companies' (the Fortune 100) sustainability reports to gauge the current state of corporate biodiversity accountability. Almost half (49) of the Fortune 100 mentioned biodiversity in reports, and 31 made clear biodiversity commitments, of which only 5 were specific, measureable, and time bound. A variety of biodiversity‐related activities were disclosed (e.g., managing impacts, restoring biodiversity, and investing in biodiversity), but only 9 companies provided quantitative indicators to verify the magnitude of their activities (e.g., area of habitat restored). No companies reported quantitative biodiversity outcomes, making it difficult to determine whether business actions were of sufficient magnitude to address impacts and were achieving positive outcomes for nature. Conservation science can advance approaches to corporate biodiversity accountability by helping businesses make science‐based biodiversity commitments, develop meaningful indicators, and select more targeted activities to address business impacts. With the biodiversity policy super year of 2020 rapidly approaching, now is the time for conservation scientists to engage with and support businesses in playing a critical role in setting the new agenda for a sustainable future for the planet with biodiversity at its heart.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)307-318
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • corporate social responsibility, development, indicators, mitigation, nature, private sector, sustainability, desarrollo, indicadores, mitigacion, naturaleza, responsabilidad social corporativa, sector privado, sustentabilidad

ID: 235780415