UK: Prince Charles opens business and biodiversity conference


The first Global Business of Biodiversity Symposium is taking place in London today. Bringing together businesses of all sizes across all sectors to discuss ways of achieving business and biodiversity gains, Prince Charles will open proceedings via video link.

rainforest and dollar bill Other highlights include the UK's Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman, who's essay in the Guardian today outlines her ambitions for sustainable palm oil. Spelman writes: "Working with businesses and the public sector we aim to find out what we're using palm oil for, where we are getting it from and if it's sustainable."

"What we find will help us work with industry and NGOs alike to produce a plan to help shift Britain's sourcing of palm oil to a sustainable footing. This is a milestone step in the right direction but commitments from other major international markets are still lacking - less than 4% of the global supply of palm oil is certified from sustainable sources," she continues.

Also launched at the conference is the final report of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). Pavan Sukhdev, TEEB study leader, will deliver the main conclusions of the three year assessment." Through the work of TEEB and others, the economic importance of biodiversity and ecosystems is emerging from the invisible into the visible spectrum," said Sukhdev.

TEEB will likely list some success stories from the world of big business, such as Rio Tinto - the global mining giant - that has committed itself to a Net Positive Impact on biodiversity, exemplified by the news of its strategic partnership with IUCN. If Rio Tinto doesn't raise some eyebrows then names like Coca Cola (water neutral by 2020), Walmart (Acres for Americas initiative), and BC Hydro (no net incremental environmental impact) surely will. But all will be shown by TEEB to demonstrate how big business doesn't have to mean big environmental harm.

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