Business and Biodiversity Interrelationship Map


 In this working group we have developed a tool we call a “Business & Biodiversity Interrelationship Map.” Serving as a cornerstone in the JBIB collection of tools, our map takes up the whole lifecycle of a company’s products and services from raw material procurement to waste management, as well as the land use at the site of operations, to show how a business depends on and also impacts biodiversity. This schematic and visual portrayal allows intuitive understanding of the relationship between biodiversity and a company’s procurement of resources and energies, manufacturing and other operations, transportation, usage and maintenance of the products, and all other results of its corporate activities.


We are proud to say that this map has been lauded as an excellent tool that allows companies to understand their relationships with biodiversity and ecosystems. It can help a company make its decision to engage in biodiversity conservation, and also serves as a useful tool to explain the relevance of such initiatives.


However, unless a company is aware of both the degree of dependence and the degree of impact its business has on biodiversity, it will not be able to identify what initiatives need to be given priority in order for the company to move on to the next level of actions. The current aim of this working group is thus to quantify this business and biodiversity interrelationship, with the ultimate goal of using these figures to encourage the management to invest in halting the loss of biodiversity. Although the quantification of relationships poses a very difficult challenge, we listened to the views of experts and found a possible answer in an assessment method that uses an input-output table. We have already launched studies to verify this method for simplified measurement of a company’s impacts to the natural capital. In the future, we hope to perfect a simple evaluation method that also encompasses the global supply chain.


The importance of economic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services has been in the limelight in recent years as well. We are also working on a way to use economic value to measure the positive impacts of a company’s activities to conserve greenery around its site of operations from the perspective of biodiversity. We are studying the formulation and implementation of a tool that assesses the economic value of a company’s green areas using the ecosystem service units of leading urban areas derived from a conjoint analysis. We hope that the future creation of such tools will encourage more companies to make serious efforts to conserve biodiversity.


An example of a Business & Biodiversity Interrelationship Map

This diagram (map) shows the interrelation between a recycled multifunctional digital copier (shown in the center) and biodiversity along its life cycle. The life cycle begins with “procurement of raw materials” and goes through “designing/manufacturing,” “logistics/ marketing,” “use/maintenance,” and ends with “collection/recycling.” Dependence and impact on biodiversity are shown for each stage of the life cycle including the land used for the factory.
This is a unique and visual way to show all the relationships at a glance, making it suitable for sharing this association with stakeholders both inside and outside of the company.

by courtesy of Ricoh