The British Standards Institution (BSI) has launched a new business standard for protecting and enhancing biodiversity to help companies address their biodiversity impacts and access new ethical markets.
The standard, BS 8583, was developed in association with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and has been endorsed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
It aims to address the growing need for businesses to report the biodiversity impact of their day-to-day operations as part of corporate and public sector supply chain requirements.
Currently, no other formal environmental or sustainability standard provides guidance on biodiversity.
Through four steps, the standard:
- Explains what biodiversity is and why it is relevant to businesses
- Describes how to assess biodiversity impact
- Explores ways to manage biodiversity, for example through supply chain management
- Gives advice on planning for biodiversity protection and enhancement.
Businesses holding the standard are expected to undertake regular biodiversity reviews and reports on their operations, assess their suppliers, identify opportunities for improvement and produce recommendations for improving existing management practices.
According to the BSI, managing biodiversity impacts can have a number of positive effects on a business, including ensuring the sustainability of supply for resources and opening doors to new markets by attracting ethical consumers and helping to meet supply chain requirements in the public sector.
David Fatscher, head of market development for sustainability at the BSI, said: “BS 8583 provides guidance on biodiversity issues that are likely to be relevant to different types of organisation, [covering] methods available for assessing an organisation’s impact and advice on planning for biodiversity protection and enhancement.”