Calculating Biodiversity Footprint: A New Challenge for Corporations

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by | May 11, 2023

University of Jyväskylä in Finland has initiated a pilot project that presents a new way for companies to evaluate their sway on biodiversity. The project aims to offer a method that other companies and organizations can use to assess their influence on nature.The biodiversity footprint indicator, developed by JYU, Wisdom, measures the potentially disappeared fraction (PDF) of species at risk of extinction, allowing for international comparison of different corporations’ biodiversity footprints. By measuring their biodiversity footprint, companies can take a significant step towards reducing their impressions on the environment and working towards sustainability.

Estimating Biodiversity Footprint: An Emerging Challenge for Corporations

This groundbreaking initiative is an important step forward for companies to better understand and manage their influence on nature, and it could have a significant control on the future of sustainability.

Finnish consumption generates a significant portion of detrimental reach to the environment across the globe through complex supply chains that extend beyond Finland’s borders, according to the project. The pilot project’s interim report revealed that the Finnish retail giant S Group‘s food and fuel products had the most significant impact on biodiversity, with the majority of the footprint outside Finland.

Nina Elomaa, senior vice president of sustainability at S Group, emphasizes the need to address both climate and biodiversity challenges simultaneously. Unlike climate issues, the malediction of biodiversity is primarily localized. Elomaa suggests that corporations should foster stronger collaborations with partners within the same geographic region to mitigate their adverse effects on nature. Additionally, she recommends that companies create new cooperation networks to address these challenges.

Biodiversity Footprint Maps Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems

S Group has taken several steps to reduce its biodiversity effects, such as promoting sustainable consumption and a planetary health diet and implementing policies related to raw materials and sourcing to protect fish populations and sensitive forest areas. The development of the biodiversity blueprint measuring method is a vital step forward in halting biodiversity deficits. The new international targets for ending biodiversity loss agreed upon at the Montreal Biodiversity Conference in December 2022 require large and transnational companies to disclose their negative impact on biodiversity.

Innovation at the Forefront of Global Development

With the potential information from this study aiming to be freely available, corporations can embrace the challenge of working on climate and biodiversity issues together. Managing something that cannot be measured is impossible, according to Lasse Miettinen, director of Sustainability Solutions at Sitra. The importance of measuring biodiversity impact is critical, as stopping biodiversity loss requires a functional method for forecasting biodiversity footprints. The pilot project conducted with S Group has shed light on the significant impact of food and fuels on biodiversity, emphasizing the need for stronger cooperation and new forms of collaboration to mitigate negative repercussions.

Tackling Climate and Biodiversity Together

The University of Jyväskylä’s innovative approach to calculating biodiversity footprints offers a valuable tool for corporations and organizations worldwide to assess their impact on nature. By weighing their biodiversity load, companies can take a significant step towards reducing their impact on the planet and working towards sustainable practices. This project will aid corporations in embracing the challenge of tackling climate and biodiversity issues together.

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