Project Launch: Corporate Cost Management in Nature Conservation and Cost Saving Possibilities
In November 2012, the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) launched a new project on the role of costs related to nature conservation with regards to business. It is a joint project undertaken together with the ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative, the Lake Constance Foundation, the Global Nature Fund and the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück. The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment are funding the project, “A study on corporate nature conservation management in select industries and cost reduction possibilities by means of supporting biological diversity”, as part of its 2012 plan for environmental research.
The goal for the research project is to highlight starting points and potentials in preserving biological diversity, with the intent of motivating businesses in selected sectors to act. Being aware that companies affect biological diversity and ecosystem services in various ways through their supply chains, the project concentrates on one aspect, namely on direct potentials related to location-based, corporate engagement at the companies’ sites. The manner in which businesses manage their sites and facilities directly impacts local and regional biological diversity. With the proper tools such management can have a positive impact on the environment.The research project shall strive to supply the business world with tools and reasons for corporate action in decisively engaging in biodiversity protection. It will systematically develop biodiversity-supporting measures by outlining their costs and impacts on biodiversity, employees and surroundings. This shall help demonstrate to the studied business sectors that there are specific, site-related options for action, possible savings in cost, and non-monetary advantages for protecting biodiversity. In addition, the study plans to produce recommendations for simple but meaningful figures and indicators. At the end of the project a set of guidelines for action taking into account the research results will be compiled as a useful tool for the various actors.
The project’s aim is to generate transferable knowledge. Possible findings include:
- Knowledge about measures that positively affect biodiversity, and create cost savings which amortize;
- Knowledge about the meaning of biodiversity and biodiversity management (beyond sites and facilities);
- Knowledge about obstacles businesses face in arranging and managing their green areas to better support biodiversity;
- Knowledge about motivation, extent and arrangement for embedding measures in corporate strategy and management as well as the prevalence of consultancy services for biodiversity-friendly actions.