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Business In Key Biodiversity Areas: Minimizing The Risk To Nature

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Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) changed its name to Re:wild in 2021

New Roadmap Provides Guidelines for Businesses Operating in Biologically Important Wildlands


For immediate release

April 17, 2018

The Key Biodiversity Area Partnership involving 13 of the world’s leading conservation organizations, including Global Wildlife Conservation, today issued a roadmap for businesses operating in, or impacting, some of the most biologically significant places on the planet.

The report, Guidelines on Business and KBAs: Managing Risk to Biodiversity, outlines steps that businesses can take to actively safeguard biodiversity and avoid contributing to its loss. It recommends businesses of all sizes and across all sectors adopt 15 guidelines to better manage their direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on places deemed critical for the conservation of species and ecosystems worldwide, known as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). It addresses issues such as avoidance of impacts, limits to biodiversity offsets, as well as financial guarantees and corporate reporting. It guides businesses in managing the potential losses and other risks associated with their negative impact on biodiversity, including potential impacts on access to financing and increased company exposure to negative press.

“KBAs play a vital and global role in the overall health of our planet, so businesses need to take extra caution when planning or undertaking commercial activities in or near these sites and some activities should be avoided altogether,” said Penny Langhammer, director of Key Biodiversity Areas and Species Assessment for Global Wildlife Conservation. “This roadmap provides concrete steps that companies, financial institutions and governments can take to ensure that their business activities maintain the species and habitats for which these sites are so important.”

The report and associated website aims to help businesses demonstrate good environmental practice and compliance with voluntary sustainability standards or certification schemes. It also explains how companies operating in KBAs can make a positive contribution to biodiversity by investing in conservation actions and sharing relevant information about the KBAs, including data collected in Environmental Impact Assessments, baseline studies and monitoring activities, with the KBA Partners. Its aim is to assist governments in authorization decisions related to business operations.

“These new guidelines will help businesses protect the most important natural places on our planet, and so preserve the natural resources they so strongly depend on,” said Inger Andersen, IUCN director general. “By managing their impacts on nature, businesses deliver positive conservation results, helping address the escalating crisis of biodiversity loss.”

Following the adoption in 2016 of a global standard for the identification of KBAs, the KBA Partnership was created to map, monitor and conserve the areas. More than 15,000 KBAs have been identified so far, many of which currently support commercial activities, such as farming, fisheries, forestry and mining. Although the global KBA network does not yet cover all geographical regions or species groups, the KBA Partnership is working to fill these gaps.

“The Tiffany & Co. Foundation is proud to support IUCN in this important effort to protect some of the world’s most biologically rich and diverse places,” said Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chairman and president of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, which funded the project. “These guidelines provide an important roadmap for businesses committed to advancing the long-term preservation and stewardship of the Earth’s natural resources, which all of society depends on.”

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Photo: A quarry in tropical forest. (Photo by B. Barov/BirdLife)

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Notes to editors

Guidelines on Business and KBAs builds on input provided at an end-users consultation workshop held in Gland, Switzerland, from July 4 to 5, 2016, and during a public consultation from December 2 , 2016 to March 17, 2017.

A Global Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas was adopted by IUCN in April 2016 and launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September of that year. It comprises a set of globally standardized criteria for the identification of KBAs worldwide. It establishes a consultative, science-based process for KBA identification, founded on the consistent application of global criteria with quantitative thresholds that have been developed through an extensive consultation exercise spanning several years.

KBA Partnership

The KBA Partnership is made up of 12 of the world’s leading international nature conservation organizations. In addition to IUCN and Birdlife International, this includes: Amphibian Survival AllianceConservation InternationalCritical Ecosystem Partnership FundGlobal Environment FacilityGlobal Wildlife ConservationNatureServeRainforest TrustRoyal Society for the Protection of BirdsWildlife Conservation Society and WWF.

The KBA Partnership aims to enhance global conservation efforts by systematically mapping internationally important sites and ensuring that scarce resources are directed to the most important places for nature. The impact of this vital conservation work will be enhanced by promoting targeted investment in conservation action at priority sites.

Global Wildlife Conservation

GWC conserves the diversity of life on Earth by safeguarding wildlands, protecting wildlife and supporting guardians. We maximize our impact through scientific research, biodiversity exploration, habitat conservation, protected area management, wildlife crime prevention, endangered species recovery, and conservation leadership cultivation. Learn more at


Lindsay Renick Mayer

Global Wildlife Conservation


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