European Business and Nature Summit kicks off in Madrid

Press release 2019-11-07 at 7:44

The European Business and Nature Summit is taking place on 7–8 November in Madrid. The meeting brings businesses together to present their views for the preparation of new global biodiversity targets to be agreed on in 2020 and offers a platform for exchanging information on innovative business activities that benefit biodiversity. State Secretary Terhi Lehtonen will attend the meeting.

The meeting aims to inspire the business community to take more extensive action against biodiversity loss and to make voluntary commitments to promote and protect biodiversity.

“Biodiversity loss is as serious and urgent a crisis as climate change. They are two sides of the same coin and require common solutions, also in the business world. Business activities have a significant impact on biodiversity loss, and companies can improve the state of nature through their choices. Acting on behalf of nature can also provide a competitive advantage,” Lehtonen says.

“It is important for companies to participate in setting new international biodiversity targets and to commit to halting the loss of biodiversity,” Lehtonen says.

Finland is involved in organising the meeting

Finland is involved in organising the European Business and Nature Summit in its role as holder of the EU Council Presidency. More than 320 representatives of companies, administrative authorities and organisations from all over Europe will attend the meeting.

In addition to officials from the Ministry of the Environment, the Finnish delegation includes representatives from the Finnish corporate responsibility network FIBS, the Finnish Environment Institute, SOK and UPM.

“Biodiversity is a theme that businesses should highlight alongside their climate actions. As a network of companies, we are already taking action to safeguard biodiversity. We expect the meeting to lay the foundations for common practices and concrete ideas so that businesses and associations can better take into account biodiversity in their agendas,” says Senja Forsman, Responsibility Manager at SOK.

“Safeguarding biodiversity is the foundation of the developing bioeconomy. Practical measures are crucial, and the mainstreaming of best practices requires international cooperation. This is why UPM is taking part in the Finnish delegation,” says Timo Lehesvirta, who is in charge of developing sustainable forestry at UPM.

“The biodiversity crisis is finally gaining the attention it deserves in the public debate alongside the climate crisis, both in Finland and internationally. Businesses play a key role in solving this challenge, and it is important for their voices to be heard. Over the past five years, together with the Ministry of the Environment, we have coached a total of 50 large companies and organisations on issues of natural capital, and this delegation is a great opportunity for our members to take part in the discussion on this theme at the international level as well,” says Angelina Kuokkanen, Environmental Responsibility Coordinator at FIBS.

“Biodiversity needs businesses. Companies make a great deal of decisions that affect nature on a daily basis, either directly or indirectly. For example, how are sustainability criteria taken into account in the procurement of raw materials? Is wood purchased from endangered natural forests or from certified commercial forests? Does the company use carbon-free energy or fossil fuels? The third most significant threat to biodiversity is climate change,” says Riku Lumiaro, a biodiversity expert from the Finnish Environment Institute.

Click on the links below to watch livestreams of the European Business and Nature Summit:

The Summit is part of Natural Capital Week, which is taking place on 4–8 November in Madrid. The event aims to promote consideration for biodiversity in the business world through exchanges of information, ideas and experiences.


Inquiries:

Kristiina Niikkonen, Senior Environmental Adviser, kristiina.niikkonen@ym.fi, tel. +358 295 250 198

Terhi Lehtonen, State Secretary, terhi.lehtonen@ym.fi, tel. +358 295 161 000