The world of risks and opportunities within which businesses operate is rapidly changing. Companies are facing increasing pressure from consumers who want to know that they are dealing with responsible corporate citizens, and the impact that companies have on biodiversity is a critical element of this. Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the important role that biodiversity plays in their value chains and there is a need to identify and manage the business risks and opportunities that result from their interactions with biodiversity to avoid negative impacts on their bottom line.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) recognised the need for a body to assist business in the integration or mainstreaming of biodiversity into its strategies and activities. This led the EWT to establish the National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN) in 2013, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs, De Beers, Pam Golding Properties, Nedbank Limited, Hatch, Pick n Pay, and Transnet. In 2016, the list of NBBN partners grew to include Woolworths and Eskom. The aim of the NBBN is to facilitate a reduction in the impact of business on biodiversity in South Africa. It achieves this by assisting business with the development and dissemination of tools and guidelines. The NBBN also presents capacity-building events that provide a platform for businesses to proactively engage with each other and discover solutions that lead to sustainable business growth.
The NBBN is a member of the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity (GPBB) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The GPBB currently comprises 21 national and regional business and biodiversity initiatives, all working towards greater business engagement on biodiversity-related issues, including but not limited to sustainable supply chains, biodiversity no-net-loss initiatives and biodiversity reporting.
EWT is a Natural Capital Regional Platform of the Natural Capital Coalition https://naturalcapitalcoalition.org/ to natural Capital Coalition, an international collaboration that unites the global natural capital community. The Coalition is made up of almost 300 organizations (and engages many thousands more) who together represent all parts of society and span the global economy. Coalition organizations have united under a common vision of a world that conserves and enhances natural capital.
The team responsible for managing the Biodiversity Disclosure Project (BDP) is as follows:
Megan Murison is the Project Manager of the National Biodiversity and Business Network at the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT). Megan obtained her Master of Science in Zoology at Rhodes University and has recently completed a course in Strategic Business Management as well as Human Resource Management at the University of Cape Town. Within the EWT, she is involved in partnership building and assisting with the mainstreaming of biodiversity into South African businesses.
Dr. Joël R.A. Houdet is an independent consultant and a Senior Research Fellowship at Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Joël is an expert on biodiversity mainstreaming in business and corporate natural capital measurement, valuation, accounting and reporting. He has been involved in several high profile initiatives, including the drafting of the Natural Capital Protocol and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Joël holds a PhD in Management Sciences from AgroParisTech (France), a Masters in Practicing Accounting from Monash University (Australia) and Bachelor of Sciences from Rhodes University (South Africa).
Constant Hoogstad is the Industry Partnerships Manager at the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and is currently studying Strategic Business Management at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Constant studied Law at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. He has also obtained qualifications through the Field Guide Association of South Africa (FGASA) and pursued a career in wildlife conservation and wildlife research. Constant also managed a number of large game reserves across SA before joining the EWT in 2010.
Yolan Friedmann is the CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, one of the largest conservation NGOs in southern Africa. With a background in Veterinary Nursing, Yolan obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications, a Masters in Environmental Studies from WITS, and completed the Management Development Programme (MDP) at the Gordon Institute for Business Science (GIBS). Certified as a Director by the Institute of Directors South Africa Yolan has received numerous awards in the environmental sector, most recently, a WESSA Lifetime Achiever Award for Conservation in 2016. She was the first South African to serve as a Regional Councillor on the IUCN Council and co-chaired the IUCN’s Constituency Committee for four years. Yolan is an Advisory Board member of the Ford Wildlife Foundation and Board member of Indalo Yethu. She was a non-executive director and member of the Board of the Institute of Directors South Africa (IoDSA) for two terms, and served on the IoDSA Sustainability Forum, the IoDSA Audit and Risk Committee and its Social and Ethics Committee. Yolan was also a founding director of the Global Compact South Africa. Yolan is a co-author of the biodiversity chapter in the climate change book Bending the Curve and in another publication called Biodiversity Monitoring & Conservation: Bridging the gap between global commitment and local action published by the Zoological Society of London in 2011.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is a non-governmental, non-profit, conservation organisation, founded in 1973 and operating throughout southern Africa. The EWT is a leading high-profile player amongst conservation organisations in South Africa and fills the key niche of conservation action, through applied fieldwork, research and direct engagement with stakeholders.
Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, South Africa’s parastatal utility company, proudly supports the development of the NBBN’s Biodiversity Disclosure Project. Environment and biodiversity protection is fundamental to Eskom’s outputs due to the reliance on natural resources to generate energy. Through Eskom’s Biodiversity Centre of Excellence, and strategic partnerships, Eskom aims to be a world leader in environmental management practices and environmental duty of care.