Private sector roundtable on the GDI
24 November 2011
The second private sector roundtable on the GDI took place in Zurich on 24 November 2011. GDI consultants and private sector experts in areas such as environmental and social accreditation, forensic accounting, and sustainability metrics met to explore the usefulness of the GDI approach to the private sector.
The Zurich roundtable focused on the recently released Version 0 of the GDI Reference Guide which has set out a standard for biodiversity-responsible land management based on 6 key responsibilities: Conserve, Use, Develop, Assess, Manage, and Report. Through certifying land management plans, the GDI approach will establish a practical metric for biodiversity performance – a GDI-certified hectare.
The roundtable highlighted that the GDI approach was of particular interest to the private sector as it provides companies with an ISO-compatible approach to managing areas critical to their business models. These could include the areas around facilities, areas in their supply chains or areas of importance to key stakeholders such as consumers or investors. Importantly, the approach also provides the metric of GDI-certified hectares which would enable companies to measure and report on their biodiversity performance.
The roundtable further confirmed that an approach which integrates conservation and development outcomes on the ground could be particularly attractive to companies who need to address both the environmental and social dimensions of their business operations and value chains. A challenge, however, will be to find a proper place or places for the GDI approach within corporate structures as the conservation objective will fit more comfortably with Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) departments, while the development objective will fit more comfortably with community relations or sustainable development departments.