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The business of being green

Posted on: 17.03.11 (Last edited) 17 March 2011

Putting a value on sustainability in business

The Natural Value Initiative (NVI) – a partnership between Fauna & Flora International, the UN and the private sector – has launched a key tool for companies to measure their impact on habitat loss and biodiversity. It also allows investors to rank and score businesses according to the way they manage their ‘green footprint’.

“In 2008 the top 3,000 companies caused more than $2.2 trillion worth of damage to the natural environment. While businesses are often the main driver for habitat destruction, they have a significant potential to act as a force for good through acting to manage their impact or dependence on biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, they find it hard to act on what they cannot measure,” said Project Director of NVI, Annelisa Grigg.

Biodiversity undervalued and overexploited

Biodiversity and habitat loss are routinely overlooked in investment analyses. Equally, the conservation community has found it challenging to understand and engage with investors to convince them of the importance of the environment to corporate value.

As a result, biodiversity is undervalued and overexploited.

The NVI is working to ensure that the natural world becomes an important consideration for business. The NVI is currently conducting research into extractive companies listed in the Netherlands and the UK to rank them according to the level of sophistication of their approach to managing this issue.

We aim to work with companies to assist them to minimize their impact on the environment and to build a better understanding of the issues among the investment community.

The NVI includes FFI, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, Nyenrode University (Dutch business school) and the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO), the Brazilian business school, Fundacion Getulio Vargas (FGV).

The partnership also includes several high profile investment companies such as Aviva Investors, F&C Investments, Mn Services, Pax World, VicSuper, Calvert and Syntrus Achmea Asset Management.

Written by
Georgina Kenyon

Georgina has been writing about science and conservation for over ten years - online, print and for NGOs and a UN agency. Ever since hearing the mating call of a tortoise -something between the rumbling of a whale and a vuvuzela-on the small island of Ile Aigrettes in Mauritius, Georgina has been hooked on reptiles and endangered creatures. Originally from Australia, Georgina recommends that travellers look under the waters for the real beauty of Sydney--it is there that you will see the glorious wobbegong carpet shark.

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