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Addressing Biodiversity

There are two basic, and complementary, ways that the private sector can address biodiversity issues. The first, and the way most companies have traditionally viewed biodiversity, is as a series of business risks that need to be managed and mitigated, to reduce costs, enhance reputation and ensure smooth operations. In today's world, this is the minimum standard for how a company should address biodiversity. However, there is also another way to look at biodiversity — as a way to create value for a business by maintaining biodiversity in its natural state, because there is a market demand for it as such. The most familiar way that companies do this is by sourcing and marketing sustainably produced products, such as timber, food and fiber that is grown or harvested in such a way as to minimize impacts on the natural world. Beyond these markets for biodiversity-friendly goods are new and expanding markets that put a financial value on ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, watershed protection or natural disaster mitigation.