The Platform Biodiversity, Ecosystems & Economy (Platform BEE) is committed to preserving and restoring biodiversity and ecosystems as a precondition for a strong economy and a healthy environment. The Platform is an initiative of VNO-NCW (the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers) and environmental organisation IUCN NL (the International Union for Conservation of Nature in the Netherlands). Business representatives, nature organizations and the knowledge community are part of the Platform.
Platform BEE wishes to make businesses aware of the importance of biodiversity and ecosystems for their operations, and encourage them to integrate care for natural capital in corporate activities. To realize this, Platform BEE promotes synergies between the conservation of nature and sustainable economic development, providing companies with advice and co-finance of pilot projects. Both in Europe (for instance a smarter approach to the management of the Rhine river basin) and in southern countries (for instance halting deforestation).
Key motive for Platform BEE activities is the realization that ecosystems and biodiversity are vital for both the quality of life and the economy. Fossil and other mineral resources are finite. Therefore, the world economy should be growing towards a biobased economy, based on renewable raw materials. Maintenance of vital ecosystems is therefore of fundamental importance; they provide ecosystem services such as fertile soils, clean water and climate regulation. Which again form the basis for the production of food and other renewable resources for a growing world population. Biodiversity provides the robust ecosystems and, amongst others, the resilience of crops to plant and animal diseases. Moreover, genetic variety is a depository for applications in biotechnology, biochemistry and the agrifood sector. In short, natural capital forms the basis for all corporate activities.
Good management, protection and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity are decisive for a sustainable transition to a biofriendly economy. The Platform sees a key role for businesses to play in this respect. Therefore, it encourages ambitions of companies to avoid, reduce or compensate their impact on natural capital and to benefit from opportunities. Companies involved have contributed to the greening of production, trade and consumption chains, starting to improve their own production processes, applying circular principles, due landscape management and reconsidering their role in supply chains. Not only for in the best interets of biodiversity and ecosystems, but also economic-wise. Understanding dependencies and reducing impacts will ultimately save costs, contribute to supply security of raw materials, and reinforce the license to operate.
The leading principle of Platform BEE is ‘No Net Loss’ of biodiversity. This means that the activities of companies are not detrimental to biodiversity or ecosystems, but instead contribute to restoring and maintaining our natural capital. To that end, companies should include their impact on ecosystems and biodiversity in their strategy formulation, policies and operational processes. Necessary in this respect is to engage in dialogues with interested parties (stakeholders), build public support, increase knowledge, promote best practices, and advise the government on policy, including international cooperation aimed at the sustainability of the global economy and raw materials.