Earthwatch and British American Tobacco celebrate renewal of long-standing partnership
The British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership (BATBP) has been renewed for a further five years, it was announced in March. The renewal is marked by the launch of a new website and progress report.
Formed in 2001, the Biodiversity Partnership is a multilateral collaboration comprising Earthwatch Institute, Fauna & Flora International, the Tropical Biology Association and British American Tobacco. Working together, the partners seek to address some of the challenging issues surrounding the conservation and management of biodiversity and ecosystem services within and around agricultural land.
The progress report published in 2011, provides an update on the Partnership’s progress over the last five years, and showcases a number of major projects through in-depth case-studies. Having recently entered a third term of collaboration, the report also outlines plans for the next five years.
Paul Laird, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Earthwatch explains what the partnership has achieved to date: “From 2006 to 2010 the Partnership set out to address three strategic priorities: helping BAT to embed biodiversity into its business; building capacity of individuals and organisations around conservation; and protecting and restoring habitats and species. Significant progress has been made against all three.”
Paul continues “A key achievement has been the development of the Biodiversity Risk and Opportunity Assessment (BROA) tool, the use of which became mandatory in all of BAT’s leaf-growing locations in 2008. BROA has helped BAT to identify, assess, and address risks arising from its impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystems.”
The Partnership’s work on BROA is referenced in the flagship 2010 publication The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity.
Building on solid foundations, this is an exciting time for the Partnership - over the next five years, the partners will develop a new programme of projects which will be larger in scope and ambition than previously seen. Key streams of work include:
- BROA version II - the Partnership intends to produce an improved version of BROA in 2011 to be shared with other tobacco and agricultural businesses to encourage widespread adoption of similar approaches.
- Reducing reliance on natural forests - with support from the Partnership, BAT is moving ahead to develop a methodology to monitor and minimise use of wood from natural forests for tobacco curing.
- Research on maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services within agricultural landscapes - Earthwatch is currently developing new research projects within biodiversity hotspots in Brazil and India.
Keep up to date on the work of the partnership at www.batbiodiversity.org