IUCN Podcast: Biodiversity makes business sense by JMA

Business and the industry is part of the problem of biodiversity loss, but also part of the solution. Juan Marco Álvarez, Global Thematic Director of the Economy and Environmental Governance Group and Head of IUCN’s Business and Biodiversity Programme, tells us about the importance of working with businesses and gives examples of successful partnerships between […]

Three questions to JMA, new Head of the Business and Biodiversity Programme and Global Thematic Director at IUCN.

How will your past experiences influence/shape your role in the Business and Biodiversity Programme-BBP?

“My experience of almost 20 years managing El Salvador’s most important environmental organization, SalvaNATURA, which focused its work in the northern Central American countries, has provided me with the necessary skills and knowledge for leading BBP. In addition, my MBA background and my international experience, within IUCN and the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) for example, give me a clear perspective on the vision, objectives and future challenges of this important and vital initiative within IUCN’s programme. I also believe that my participation as an IUCN Councilor (Board Member) allowed me to clearly understand the strategic vision necessary for taking BBP to the next level.”

What opportunities and threats does the current financial turmoil pose for BBP?

“Although one might think that the current economic crisis will represent severe budget cuts in corporations, these cuts won’t necessarily happen in sustainability initiatives that are already ongoing. I believe that now, more than ever, companies are investing in environmental and sustainability issues because they understand that this is not just CSR but rather part of their corporate strategy. Some are even talking about strategic philanthropy and investing in environmental and social activities because it makes business sense. I truly don’t see this situation as a threat but rather as an opportunity for BBP because we are poised for growth thanks to our value proposition and the ever increasing recognition among the private sector that IUCN can become a strategic partner like no other.”

How do you see the private sector’s involvement in biodiversity conservation develop in the coming years?

“Biodiversity conservation is a hard sell to many corporations. But the ones that have partnered with us are learning and understanding that our objectives of reducing the companies’ footprint on biodiversity and to leverage support in enhancing nature conservation through the delivery of our programme can make a strong difference. It can even give them added value and therefore a competitive advantage. I strongly believe that more corporations will approach IUCN in order to help them reduce the ecological impact of their operations and to help then provoke change through business supply chains to drive widespread adoption of good practices.”