Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines biodiversity as “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”.
According to the United Nations, one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction. There are 36 “biodiversity hotspots” – regions with significant biodiversity that are threatened of which 4 are in India. These 36 hotspots represent just 2.3 percent of Earth's land surface, but they support more than half of the world's endemic plant species (found no place else) and nearly 43 percent of endemic bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species.
According to WWF, humans are behind the current rate of species extinction, which is 100 to 1,000 times higher than nature intended. Populations of vertebrate species – mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish – have declined 52 percent over the last 40 years due to a variety of factors, including habitat destruction. The loss of so many species impacts the balance of nature and threatens the ecosystem services on which life depends.
Businesses and biodiversity are closely interlinked; as businesses depend on the “Natural Capital” and “Ecosystem services”, which form the foundation of all economic activities and provide vital inputs for businesses to function. The value of global ecosystem services is estimated at $16-$64 trillion and it is estimated that around 40% of the world economy is based on biological products or processes.
Moreover, businesses also have significant impacts on biodiversity which may limit future business opportunities and sustainability significantly. Business risks associated with biodiversity loss include disruption of operations, reputational risks and financing risks.
The Tata group recognizes biodiversity as a vital asset for sustainable economic growth. Our operating companies are committed to combating biodiversity loss by managing their impacts and dependencies and enhancing their performance on biodiversity conservation as a part of their operations.
Collaborations and Partnerships
Tata companies are setting a precedent among industry peers by being part of or collaborating with national and international business initiatives for conserving biodiversity - like the India Business Biodiversity Initiative (IBBI) and IUCN. These collaborations provide a platform for dialogue sharing and learning with stakeholders, ultimately leading to mainstreaming sustainable management of biological diversity into businesses. The Tata group is one of the members of Natural Capital Coalition and played a crucial role in the formulation of The Natural Capital Protocol, which was piloted by five Tata companies who are interested in accounting and monitoring their environmental performance.
Knowledge Sharing with Group Companies
In its endeavour to drive Natural Capital Valuation within the Tata group, the Tata Sustainability Group has carried out several capacity building and knowledge sharing programmes with group companies, involving academic institutions like the University of Cambridge and other leading practitioners of Natural Capital like the Kering Group.
Tata Chemicals launched first-ever centre of excellence for conservation of marine biodiversity and coastal ecosystem in India in 2018
Tata Power biodiversity initiative 'Act for Mahseer' won for 'Awareness Branding' at Global CSR Excellence & Leadership Awards 2019
The Great Indian Hornbill habitat at the Tata Coffee Plantation was featured in the 'Our Planet' TV series in an episode broadcasted in 2019
Tata Steel recognised for Excellence in Biodiversity at the CII-ITC Sustainability Awards 2018
Tata Motors Pune plant was awarded the 'Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) – Green Governance Award – 2006' in the “Conservation and Restoration of Habitat” category
In line with Tata Group's sustainability aspiration for global sustainability leadership in all sectors, we are working towards Tata Group Biodiversity Policy and guidance which will be our group level stance on biodiversity.
Tata & Biodiversity
The Web of Life