Wednesday, 29 May 2024
    Biodiversity integration vital for sustainable supply chains

    Biodiversity integration vital for sustainable supply chains

    Biodiversity is a factor of sustainability that many organisations may not have considered when drawing up their ESG goals for procurement.   

    Biodiversity refers to the variety of life forms that make up the species and organisms within ecosystems, which in turn provide essential services to support life such as food, clean water, and medicine. 

    When evaluating the extent your organisation is across your impact on biodiversity, a starting point is to ask the following question: Who is in my supply chain and what are they doing regarding biodiversity and sustainability issues including human rights, climate change, and waste management? 

    Without being mindful, an organisation may inadvertently drive the destruction of ecosystems through its supply chains. Using a restaurant chain as an example, it may contribute to deforestation through use of paper receipts, destroy habitats by building new locations in sensitive areas, pollute through transportation of goods, overexploit resources with constant product demands, and harm nature with unsustainable practices like pesticide use affecting pollinators and water quality.   

    What can be done to adopt a Nature Positive approach? Bianca Nijhof, Associate Director, Anthesis Group, sustainability activator, lays out the following steps: 

    1. Avoid biodiversity impacts from the outset 
    1. Minimise those impacts that do occur 
    1. Restore or rehabilitate degraded ecosystems 
    1. Offset their biodiversity impact where possible 

    From a procurement perspective, organisations can immediately take action, such as sourcing locally and organically where possible, minimising water use, and even considering which financial services providers they use. 

    Adopting biodiversity-friendly measures shouldn’t feel like red tape, instead, Nijhof explains, “Identifying business impacts and dependencies on biodiversity offers significant commercial opportunities.” The opportunities put forward by Nijhof include: 

    • Supply chain continuity, predictability, resilience and associated benefits including improved operational performance and reduced costs in the short- and medium-term 
    • The long-term viability of business models that depend on ecosystem services, e.g. through supply chain continuity 
    • Improved access to capital from public and private equity and debt, as well as improved relationships with insurers 
    • Access to new markets, products and services that rely on a biodiversity-positive approach 
    • Increased market share through enhanced performance and reputation 

    As organisations increasingly recognise the critical role of biodiversity in sustainability, Procurement Australia, with its proud history of partnering with both established and emerging suppliers, is well-positioned to lead the charge in supporting members' sustainable procurement practices.