Businesses are being encouraged to sign up to a new platform to guide them in taking action to tackle the biodiversity crisis.

The ‘Business for Biodiversity’ initiative, supported by KPMG, Gas Networks Ireland, Bord na Mona and Coillte, was launched today (Wednesday, June 8) at the National Biodiversity Conference in Dublin Castle.

It is backed by the National Parks & Wildlife Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, with ministers of state from both departments carrying out the officiations at the conference – Malcolm Noonan and Pippa Hackett.

The new platform will help businesses to measure, design, and demonstrate their biodiversity impact, drawing on a network of expertise led by Natural Capital Ireland, the National Biodiversity Data Centre and Business in the Community Ireland.

The overarching aim is to support implementation of Ireland’s National Biodiversity Action Plan, to halt harmful activities, and promote the restoration and regeneration of Ireland’s natural heritage, a spokesperson for the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said.

Biodiversity is the variety of life at various scales, from genes to species to habitats, with an estimated one million species facing extinction worldwide. The decline in pollinators vital for food production is a particularly worrying issue. Experts warn that biodiversity loss poses as much of a threat to our planet as climate change – and with healthy ecosystems and habitats needed for climate regulation and carbon storage, the two issues are closely interlinked.

The Business for Biodiversity initiative has received government seed funding for an initial three-year period, but from January onwards, the platform will put a paid membership model in place, once well-developed resources are established to offer support and networking opportunities to businesses, the spokesperson said.

A tiered fee system to suit every scale, from small-to-medium enterprises to large multi-nationals will also feature.

Some of the services to be offered by the platform include increasing understanding of biodiversity through educational webinars; facilitating networking and collaboration among participating companies; educating member companies around national policy on biodiversity; and identifying nature-based solutions to address climate change and biodiversity loss.

The new platform fulfils one of the objectives set out in Ireland’s National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021 and aims to develop as a resource that will positively transform the relationship between business and nature in Ireland.