Free, highly focused Biodiversity Footprint Method aids in smarter business choices

The newly released Biodiversity Footprint tool allows companies to analyze, on a localized, product specific basis, the impact of differing choices, both present and future.
Free, highly focused Biodiversity Footprint Method aids in smarter business choices

What started with the growing buzz around bee population decline has now become a major topic of discussion among companies - How do you calculate your biodiversity footprint? And how do you know what impact changes you’ve made have had in this regard?

It’s not a trivial matter, as increasing pressure on the natural resources we heavily rely on for the production of the products we create, consume and run our companies which are at risk. 

Dutch consortium creates agile, specific, free calculator 

Plansup, using a foundation of the GLOBIO biodiversity model and collaborating with Alterra, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) CREM and JSScience, has developed a method that differs from LCA tools, in that it’s location specific, software independent and not dependent on external databases. Diverging from GLOBIO, the Biodiversity Footprint Method has been optimized for businesses, both in what it analyzes, and honing the scope from global/regional down to the impacted area of a company or single product. 

Getting an accurate sense of past impact, and future potentials

Its primary aim is to help companies quickly get a sense of their current biodiversity footprint, what the main pressure factors are and from what areas they can subsequently make the greatest impact. From there, they can also discern the level of impact their biodiversity-friendly measures are having. Notably, it can also be used as a gauge of how various alternative choices to the status quo will turn out, enabling more informed choices when it comes to biodiversity. 

Being biodiversity minded is just good business

Beyond being a benefit to the environment, biodiversity mindful choices by companies serve to strengthen their market position, assure their future resource supply consistency and better answer environmentally related questions from investors. 

How does the Biodiversity Footprint Method work in the field? 

To get a tangible sense of the methodology behind the tool in action, case studies exist for carpets (Desso), health food and materials (DSM), coffee (Moyee), bio-plastic tree support systems (Natural Plastic) chocolate (Tony Chocolonely), forest products (Foreco) recycled materials-based products (Better Future Factory) paper (Schut Papier) and the Dutch dairy sector. The impact on biodiversity is not assessed directly but via so called cause-effect relations between pressure factors and biodiversity loss.

The full Biodiversity Footprint Method includes an impact calculation for the following pressures: land use, greenhouse gasses, water extraction and emission of nitrogen and phosphorus in water. To get a look at the case studies, take a deeper dive into this new methodology

Make an assessment by yourself: The Biodiversity Footprint Calculator

To facilitate businesses that want to make an assessment by themselves, Plansup developed, in collaboration with Saxion, a simplified version of the method: The Biodiversity Footprint Calculator. This open source web tool focuses on the two most important terrestrial pressure factors on biodiversity: land use and greenhouse gasses. The impact is calculated for the three most important parts of the value chain: suppliers, production process, and transport.  According to LCA studies land use and greenhouse gasses account for more than 80% of the pressure caused by companies.

With the Calculator you can find out which pressure factor contributes most to biodiversity loss, in which part of the chain. It also allows you to compare the footprint of a current situation with the footprint of an alternative or future situation. In this way the effectiveness of biodiversity friendly measures can be assessed before they are actually implemented. 

Go directly to the Calculator

Are you in for the challenge to calculate the biodiversity footprint of your product? Start here. 
On the webtool itself you'll find information about the used methodology and help in implementing it.  

We look forward to receiving your feedback. Good luck!

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Paul Smith

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