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Hannah Thomas

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Promoting the Business Case for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services


There is growing awareness of both the impact and dependencies that business operations have on biodiversity and the associated ecosystem services. These impacts translate into risks to business in a variety of ways. Where there is a direct or indirect dependence, a loss of biodiversity can increase operational costs and decrease profit margins. Even when direct dependence is low, there are significant risks to companies through liability, poor reputation, and a lack of access to credit, land and markets. At the same time, biodiversity offers new business opportunities as demand grows for more efficient, or different, ways to use natural resources and ecosystem services.


UNEP-WCMC strives to enhance awareness of the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services to companies operations. Our main focus is to develop guidance and analysis to demystify biodiversity and ecosystem services. This allows it to be integrated as part of normal business practices by streamlining biodiversity information, making it more accessible and relevant to the business community.


A-Z Logo

A-Z of Areas of Biodiversity Importance

The A to Z is an online resource to provide clear, concise and relevant information on over 30 important areas for biodiversity conservation ranging from World Heritage Sites to Key Biodiversity Areas.

The guide, the first of its kind, is geared to assist the business community, governments as well as NGOs by providing:

  • Expert reviewed information for over 30 widely recognised areas of biodiversity importance
  • Comprehensive overview and analysis of the biodiversity and socio-economic characteristics of areas
  • User-friendly business relevance descriptions including legal and compliance information
  • Links to additional information and spatial tools
  • PDF download function
  • Information regularly updated
  • Multiple search options

The A-Z of areas of biodiversity importance was developed in partnership with ICMM, IPIECA, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Green Leader

Are you a Green Leader?

Developed in partnership with UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, this publication provides an overview of the impacts and dependencies that business has on biodiversity and ecosystem services and the associated business risks and opportunities. It highlights existing initiatives to address biodiversity and ecosystem services and harness the opportunities this can present.

The overall aim is to raise awareness around the main issues, as well as provide a useful reference of existing tools, standards and guidance to support companies wishing to adopt biodiversity-friendly policies and practices. The document covers a wide range of sectors, namely mining, energy, agrifoods, fisheries and aquaculture, construction, forestry, tourism, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, fashion, and financial services.

It covers the business case for companies to manage their impact on biodiversity and includes a range of tools and initiatives available to support companies to engage in biodiversity issues. It also complements existing and ongoing work on business and biodiversity, such as the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study for business (