Dear EMAS Community,Although the United Nations InternationalYear of Biodiversity 2010 came to an end, thechallenge of understanding and managing theimpact of biodiversity on the bottom lines ofcompanies and other organisations has justbegun.According to the “European Business andBiodiversity Campaign”, around 40 per centof the world economy relies on biologicalproducts, services or processes. Undoubtedly,companies and other organisations have muchto gain from protecting biodiversity.However, biodiversity management can bea complex issue. EMAS is perfectly equippedto help organisations approach biodiversityprotection in a strategic and systematicmanner. In this Newsletter we provide youwith information on the links between natureand the economy, as well as discussions aboutthe ways in which biodiversity protectioncan be achieved by both private and publicorganisations.Enjoy the reading!
The EMAS Team, European Commission, EnvironmentDirectorate General – Unit C1 – Environment & Industry
EMAS and biodiversity
In the spotlight
Integrating biodiversity concerns intoenvironmental management
Biodiversity, defined as thevariety of life, is disappearing atan unprecedented rate, and theconsequences of this continuousloss are considered as dramaticas the consequences of climatechange – not only from anecological standpoint, but alsofrom an economic one.Most companies and other organisations havea two-way relationship with biodiversity. Onthe one hand, their activities have an impact onbiodiversity and ecosystems, such as mining or oilcompanies, as well as banks or local authorities.This impact can be of a direct nature through coreindustry operations or indirect through supplychain activities or investment and administrativedecisions. On the other hand, many organisations,including those in the food production or tourismsectors, depend on ecosystem services like freshwater or fisheries as key inputs to productionprocesses or offered products and services.Improving your organisation’s biodiversityperformance requires integration of relevantconsiderations into the entireEMAS implementation cycle.For example, it is necessaryto assess the risks andopportunities stemming fromyour organisation’s positiveand negative impacts onbiodiversity, as well as yourdependency on ecosystem services. Based onyour assessment results, biodiversity-relatedpolicies, programmes, and objectives need to beformulated. Subsequently, concrete measures toachieve the set objectives need to be launched,and your environmental management system willneed to be adjusted (e.g. biodiversity education/training for employees). Suitable indicators areto be selected to monitor and communicate yourperformance improvements. The environmentalcore indicator on land consumption (and the otherfive core indicators) introduced with EMAS III isa good starting point. However, biodiversity is acomplex issue, and organisations are encouragedto develop additional indicators to measure,benchmark, and continuously improve theirenvironmental performance.
Mr. Janez PotocnikCommissioner for Environment
The EuropeanEco-Managementand Audit Scheme
Improving your environmentaland business performance
Issue 01 / March 2011
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