Natural Value Initiative

Jargon buster

Biodiversity: ‘Biological diversity’ means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems (Article 2, Convention on Biological Diversity1).  Biodiversity underpins ecosystem services but is not an ecosystem service in itself.

BAP: Biodiversity Action Plan

BES: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

CBD: Convention on Biological Diversity

CSR:  Corporate Social Responsibility

Dependence: 2 The extent to which a company is dependent on ecosystem services for raw materials or security of supply and the extent to which its operation gives rise to environmental externalities. 

Ecosystem:  A dynamic complex of plant, animal and microorganism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit (Article 2, Convention on Biological Diversityi).  Examples of ecosystems are coral reefs, rainforest and deserts.

Ecosystem services:2 Ecosystem services are the benefits obtained by people from ecosystems. These include:

  • provisioning services such as food, water, timber, fiber, and genetic resources;
  • regulating services such as the regulation of climate, floods, disease, and water quality;
  • cultural services such as recreational, aesthetic, and spiritual benefits;
  • supporting services such as soil formation, pollination, and nutrient cycling.

EMS:  Environmental Management System

ESB:  Ecosystem Services Benchmark

FBT:  Food, Beverage and Tobacco sectors

FFI:  Fauna & Flora International

FGV:  Fundação Getulio Vargas

GRI:  Global Reporting Initiative

Impacts:2 A company impacts an ecosystem service if the company affects the quantity or quality of the service.

MA:  Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

NGO:  Non-Governmental Organisation

NVI:  Natural Value Initiative

Opportunities:3 Competitive advantage (monetisation of intangible assets) realised by a company as a result of putting strong practices in place to avoid and minimise impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. An example might be securing a significant share of the market for organic produce.

Risk:4 The potential in the short (one year), medium (one to five years) to long term (five years plus) that a company’s dependence and impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services may adversely affect company performance through impacts on brand or reputation, lack of access to raw materials or markets, and/or liability or compliance issues.

Sensitive sites: There is no current accepted definition of ‘sensitive sites’, but the term is often understood to mean sites of high biodiversity value, by virtue of high levels of biodiversity, endemism, rarity, vulnerability, threat or particularly important associated social or cultural values5.

Stakeholder(s):  Stakeholders are those individuals, groups of individuals or organisations that affect and/or could be affected by an organisation’s activities, products or services and associated performance6. Stakeholders in the context of this report are those affected by and/or able to influence a company’s biodiversity and ecosystem services risks and impacts.

TEEB:  The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity

UNEP FI:  United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative

VROM:  Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment

WBCSD:  World Business Council for Sustainable Development

WRI:  World Resources Institute

WWF:  World Wide Fund for Nature

1 [accessed 10 August 2009]

2 WRI, Meridian Institute, and WBCSD (2008) The Corporate Ecosystem Services Review. Washington DC: World Resources Institute.

3Fauna & Flora International (2008) Dependency and impact on ecosystem services – unmanaged risk, unrealised opportunity: A briefing document for the food, beverage and tobacco sectors

4 Adapted from WRI, Meridian Institute, and WBCSD (2008) The Corporate Ecosystem Services Review. Washington DC, USA: World Resources Institute which states that companies are exposed to the following risks: operational, regulatory and legal, financing, market and product reputation

5 Foxall, J., Grigg, A. and ten Kate, K. (2005) Protecting shareholder and natural value.  2005 benchmark of biodiversity management practices in the extractive industry.  Insight Investment, London, UK

6 AccountAbility (2008) AA1000 Assurance Standard 2008