A joint search for opportunities to tackle biodiversity loss

03 December 2010 | News story

AMSTERDAM - The Dutch business community and over 30 Netherlands based nature and environmental organisations are engaging in a joint search for opportunities to tackle biodiversity loss. Together they want to develop a joint strategic vision, policy agenda and action programme.

Last month Bernard Wientjes, chair of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) and Roger van Boxtel, chair of IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands signed a Letter of Intent for the Biodiversity and Business Platform.

MKB-Nederland, the lobby organisation for small and medium sized companies, and LTO-Nederland, the Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture and over 30 IUCN member and non-member organisations support this initiative.

They want to reach agreements on joint policy proposals, innovations, activities and projects aimed at decreasing their ecological footprint or at least compensating for it. The initiators recognise the necessity to create a more sustainable society, in which economic, ecological and social values are in balance.

Both internationally and nationally healthy ecosystems are vital. Not only the European Natura 2000 goals, but also the Dutch National Ecological Network (EHS) for the preservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems, are on the agenda. ,,We can only achieve this National Ecological Network in the Netherlands if companies and green organisations cooperate and jointly address the government’’, Willem Ferwerda, director of IUCN NL said.

Biodiversity, all over the world, is of great importance to the open economy of the Netherlands. If we want to rely on the availability of enough natural resources and ecosystem services, like clean water and fertile soils, action is needed.

Ferwerda: “This is a remarkable turning point, for not long ago conservationists and businesses were diametrically opposed to one another. We cannot afford this anymore. To us this Letter of Intent is an important step towards collaboration and joint action. And all nature organisations and knowledge institutions in the field of environment and biodiversity are welcome to join us.’’

Since 2005 IUCN NL and its business network Leaders for Nature have been organising programmes and lobby activities to put biodiversity on the business agenda and on the agenda of the Dutch government.  With the Letter of Intent of the umbrella organisations for businesses and most of the Dutch nature organisations, the scope of it all increases enormously.

Ferwerda: “With this LoI we can make a big step move forward. A core group has been formed consisting of IUCN members who will fulfil a leading role for the themes nature, the environment, biodiversity knowledge and international. These are: Vereniging Natuurmonumenten, Stichting Natuur en Milieu, de Vlinderstichting en Wetlands International. They will coordinate with other organisations. As the initiator, the IUCN NL office will facilitate this process and liaise with VNO-NCW.”