Biodiversity is life





The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment states that human activity has taken the planet to the edge of a massive new wave of species extinctions.

Biodiversity encompasses all life and nature. It is often defined as:
'the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems'.
This definition was formulated by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and is universally accepted.

Biodiversity has, besides its intrinsic, spiritual and aesthetic value, a high economic value, a fact that companies are becoming increasingly aware of. Due to its vital importance to the functioning of ecosystems and thus to the provisioning of ecosystem services such as clean water, resources, clean air, etc., biodiversity is a real asset for companies in general, and the conservation of biodiversity is good business practice. Although opinions regarding precise figures vary, experts agree that for Europe alone biodiversity is worth many billions of euros. In Great Britain, for example, a recent newspaper article mentioned that nature and biodiversity is worth 50 billion pounds. According to a United Nations estimate, by 2050 biodiversity investments could be worth between 2 and 6 trillion USD globally.
In addition, the rise of a more ecologically aware consumer has increased the demand for sustainable and biodiversity friendly products in both the leisure and retail sectors. Soon it will become bad business practice to hang back and leave the conservation of biodiversity to others. Biodiversity and ecosystem services provide companies with the necessary resources and, just like the proper management of business sites, the management of this provision of resources simply makes good business sense.



Economic growth, increased urbanization and our growing infrastructure have put many strains on global biodiversity and jeopardized the ability of ecosystems to keep providing the resources for us and for other species. The decrease of biodiversity seriously threatens our well-being and prosperity. Something has to happen.




At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 159 countries signed the Biodiversity Convention, committing them to “conserve the variety of animals and plants within their jurisdiction”. In Europe, 'Countdown 2010' aimed to halt the loss of biodiversity, with action plans spread over many partners in each country, culminating in the United Nations declaring 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity.  In recent years the signs have shown that public effort alone will not be sufficient to reach the goals set for biodiversity conservation.  Business has a key part to play in this, as highlighted by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) reports published in 2010.  Now more than ever it is time for companies to realize the commercial benefits of biodiversity.
Protecting biodiversity is not limited to large-scale projects inside nature parks or conservation areas. Every piece of land, no matter how small, can support biodiversity and help in the effort to sustain biodiversity locally. Every organization that owns or manages land can play a part in biodiversity conservation. The European Biodiversity Standard can help your company to make an effort and show its commitment to biodiversity and a sustainable future!


UN Environment Programme, European Commission, Global Nature Fund, CBD Secretariat and IUCN welcome the EBS.


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The EBS is financially supported by the European Commission LIFE+ programme