UBi Dialogue Forum 2024: Biodiversity as an Economic Driver

Think about a precise clockwork mechanism: every cog and every gear working in harmony to measure time. Remove a small cog, and the clock stops. The economy and nature share a similar relationship. This year’s UBi Dialogue Forum highlighted this interconnection, bringing together over 300 participants in Berlin, Germany to discuss how the economy can protect biodiversity and why this makes sense both ecologically and economically.

Dr. Jan-Niclas Gesenhues, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for the Environment emphasised that “Environmental and nature conservation are the foundation of value creation.” With 70 % of companies relying on at least one ecosystem service*, integrating biodiversity into business strategies is urgent and necessary.

A panel discussion explored the economic significance of biodiversity and the challenges businesses face in promoting it. Dr. Gesenhues stated, “We must recognize that while the economy is part of the solution, it is currently also part of the problem.” He highlighted the competitive advantage for businesses that consider their supply chains’ environmental impact.

Anna Alex, founder of Nala, underscored the importance of accurately measuring biodiversity impacts, noting: “We must stop pretending that nature’s services are infinite and free.” Her company offers tools to help businesses assess their biodiversity footprint and dependencies and integrate sustainability into their practices.

Wolfgang Schubert-Raab from the German construction industry spoke about the sector’s specific challenges and opportunities. He stressed that while every construction activity affects the environment, there are significant opportunities to adopt green building techniques and eco-friendly materials to reduce ecological impact.

Dr. Nicolas zur Nieden from EY pointed out that many companies are just beginning to understand and measure their biodiversity impact. He emphasized, “Comprehensive reporting raises awareness and helps minimize risks and opportunities,” highlighting how data can drive sustainable business practices.

Several companies showcased practical examples of integrating biodiversity into their business models:

  • Hipp, a pioneer in organic farming, uses innovative tools from nala earth to monitor and enhance the environmental impacts of its supply chain.
  • Melitta Group depends directly on natural resources for its production, emphasizing the need to protect these resources to ensure long-term availability and quality with the help of kuyua data services.
  • Spaleck GmbH, a medium-sized engineering company, collaborates with NABU on biodiversity-promoting measures, positively impacting local ecology.
  • Immerbunt, an environmental startup, assists companies in greening their premises and enhancing ecological value.

The forum also featured specialized sessions on sector-specific challenges and opportunities in tourism, construction, textiles, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These sessions provided concrete tips and tools for integrating biodiversity into business strategies.

The UBi Dialogue Forum demonstrated that protecting biodiversity is not only a moral obligation but also economically advantageous. Companies that invest in preserving natural resources can gain competitiveness and open new opportunities.

Participants from the fields of business, science, politics, and nature conservation were encouraged to take steps to promote biodiversity, whether through small measures or comprehensive strategies.

For further questions, please contact Katrin Hüttepohl.

*European Central Bank (ECB) 2023

Photo © Katja Zimmermann