January 11, 2013
BAT Biodiversity Partnership Launches sustainability tool for business
On Wednesday 14th November at Painters’ Hall in the City of London, the British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership launched the Biodiversity Risk & Opportunity Assessment (BROA) tool. The audience of over 60 invited guests included stakeholders from business, NGOs and academia.
The Biodiversity Partnership comprises Fauna & Flora International, the Tropical Biology Association, Earthwatch Institute and British American Tobacco. The BROA tool is now freely available for use by businesses interested in taking action to support the sustainability of agricultural landscapes and communities.
The discussion, titled: ‘Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Landscapes: How can business promote collaborative approaches at a landscape scale?’ was chaired by sustainability advisor and leading environmentalist Tony Juniper. The panelists included Professor Kathy Willis, Director, Biodiversity Institute, University of Oxford; Matthew Jones, Senior Program Officer, Business, Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services, UNEP-WCMC; Dr. Rosie Trevelyan, Director, Tropical Biology Association; Dr. Alan Knight, Corporate Sustainability Expert; and Jim Kirke, Leaf Sustainability Manager, British American Tobacco.
The theme reflects the context that drove the creation of BROA, and each panelist talked about the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes from a different perspective. In his introduction, Tony Juniper emphasized the urgency of addressing loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. Professor Willis described the importance of conservation beyond protected areas, and the availability of data that enable organizations to take action. Matthew Jones explained the strengths and limitations of available data sets and some of the pitfalls companies must avoid when tackling this issue.
Rosie Trevelyan discussed the value of business-NGO collaboration when taking a landscape approach to address biodiversity conservation. Alan Knight provided insightful examples of why a business should look beyond its immediate footprint to a broader landscape level of impacts and dependencies, and Jim Kirke set out the business case for an agricultural company to address biodiversity issues and support long term sustainability of agricultural communities. He described how BROA has helped BAT achieve this. Broad adoption of an approach like BROA by different organizations in a landscape would support the identification of common dependencies, risks and opportunities and help catalyze collaboration to address common issues.
A summary of proceedings can be found on the batbiodiversity.org website.
The panel discussion led into a dynamic question and answer session with some wide-ranging and perceptive questions from the knowledgeable audience.
The discussion was preceded by a networking reception during which the BROA tool was demonstrated, and information about the outcomes it has achieved around the world displayed and discussed. The event was a landmark for the Biodiversity Partnership, and feedback from participants has been enthusiastic. Plans are now underway to follow up the high level of interest shown in the topic and the BROA tool with further activities in the New Year, so watch this space.
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