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BROA: Biodiversity Risk & Opportunity Assessment

Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.
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Written by: Laura Fox
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Businesses that grow or source products from farms depend on the services that healthy, biodiversity-rich ecosystems provide, from water supply and soil formation to pollination and pest control. Yet their environmental footprint may threaten what they and other users depend on.

The Biodiversity Risk & Opportunity Assessment (BROA) is a tool for organisations with agricultural supply chains to assess how they impact and depend on biodiversity, as well as the risks and opportunities this brings.

Healthy ecosystems provide diverse benefits to businesses and communities alike, including supplying, regulating and purifying water. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.

Healthy ecosystems provide diverse benefits to businesses and communities alike, including supplying, regulating and purifying water. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.

BROA was developed by the BAT Biodiversity Partnership (BATBP), a collaboration between Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Tropical Biology Association, Earthwatch Institute and British American Tobacco (BAT). The partnership works to improve biodiversity conservation and management within agricultural landscapes and the wider ecosystems on which they depend.

Biodiversity Risk & Opportunity Assessment

BROA offers organisations practical guidance to address biodiversity and ecosystem services that are essential to agricultural landscapes and the companies that source from them.

The tool provides a method to:

• Identify how business operations impact and depend on biodiversity in agricultural landscapes

• Assess and prioritise the risks and opportunities those impacts and dependencies bring

• Produce action and monitoring plans to address the prioritised risks and opportunities

Pollination is just one of nature's services that companies with agricultural supply chains depend on. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.

Pollination is just one of nature’s services that companies with agricultural supply chains depend on. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.

Why conduct a BROA and what are the benefits?

Conducting a BROA helps an organisation and its stakeholders sustain and enhance biodiversity in its operational landscape to support long term supply chain sustainability.

Additional benefits of conducting a BROA include:

• Identifying potential future reputational risks and opportunities

• Building experience within the organisation in managing biodiversity and ecosystem services risks, impacts and opportunities

• Establishing a strong stakeholder network (producers, government, community groups, NGOs and academics) to address operational issues

• Prioritising action at a global level once conducted across a sample of the supply chain

• Identifying a common entry point for companies to engage at a landscape scale

BROA involves all stakeholders relevant to a landscape, including communities who rely on biodiversity and ecosystem services for their livelihoods. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.

BROA involves all stakeholders relevant to a landscape, including communities who rely on biodiversity and ecosystem services for their livelihoods. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.

Taking a holistic approach to supply chain sustainability

While some landscapes are dominated by a single crop, most production landscapes are complex mosaics inhabited by people and organisations with different environmental, social, economic and political interests.

Consensus is growing that a focus on the whole landscape is needed in order to meet food and resource needs, sustain biodiversity and safeguard livelihoods.

Most agricultural landscapes, like this landscape in Tanzania, are complex mosaics that must meet production needs, sustain biodiversity and support human well-being. Credit: Jeremy Holden/FFI.

Most agricultural landscapes, like this landscape in Tanzania, are complex mosaics that must meet production needs, sustain biodiversity and support human well-being. Credit: Jeremy Holden/FFI.

BROA takes a ‘landscape approach’ to assessing risks, opportunities, impacts and dependencies across terrestrial, soil and aquatic biodiversity. The tool involves all stakeholders relevant to the landscape in question including managers and employees of companies, farmers and their families, community groups, local government and NGOs.

Successes and looking forward

BROA has been applied globally across BAT’s operations in 20 countries and has garnered BAT a shortlisting for a Guardian Sustainable Business Award.

The tool has directly informed BATBP operational projects in Uganda, Indonesia and Brazil which work in partnership with farmers, agencies and companies to benefit biodiversity, livelihoods and agricultural sustainability. It has also influenced BAT local and global sustainability goals including the eradication of the use of wood from native forests as a fuel source by 2015.

In Lombok, BROA has led to a partnership between business, government and civil society to develop an integrated approach to sustainable watershed management. Credit: Martin Hardiano/FFI.

In Lombok, BROA has led to a partnership between business, government and civil society to develop an integrated approach to sustainable watershed management. Credit: Martin Hardiano/FFI.

The BATBP currently works with other organisations to support their use of BROA, which can be used by any company or organisation with an agricultural supply chain and is publicly and freely available.

Download the BROA tool and associated training material and pod casts from the ‘Resources’ section of the BAT Biodiversity Partnership website.

Learn more about BROA (PDF download) and BAT’s operational projects in Indonesia and Brazil.

Written by
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Laura Fox

Laura Fox has worked with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) since 2008. Her work focuses on integrating biodiversity and sustainable agricultural practices into agricultural supply chains and supporting smallholder farmers to maintain and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services on their farms. Taking a landscape level approach to the challenges and opportunities presented by agriculture is a central component of her work at FFI. Laura has helped develop the freely available Biodiversity Risk and Opportunity Assessment Tool for companies with agricultural supply chains. She represents FFI on the High Conservation Value Resource Network, the Executive Board of the SHARP initiative and the business working group for the Landscapes for People Food and Nature. Laura is leading the team developing FFI’s work around Agricultural Landscapes.

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