Biodiversity case study: A large construction and infrastructure business
Nature Positive was appointed by a leading UK construction and infrastructure company to undertake a biodiversity footprint, a gap analysis and a review of the company’s actions on biodiversity and develop a plan for it to become a biodiversity-positive organisation.
A leading UK construction and infrastructure company is in the process of completely refreshing its sustainability strategy and measuring the success of it through a commercial lens. The business wants to put the responsibility for being sustainable and protecting the environment into the roles of everyone in the company, rather than keeping it just within the sustainability team.
The new approach is based on the recognition that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are interlinked and that to be truly sustainable, the business needs to start with the biosphere goals and build a solid foundation. The new sustainability approach will help the company take a leading role within the construction and infrastructure sector by reducing its impact on the natural environment through changing its practices and activities.
Calculating a biodiversity footprint across its full value chain is a considerable undertaking for a company of this size. Following discussions with the company’s sustainability team, it was decided it should be broken down into several phases of work. Nature Positive carried out a biodiversity assessment of the company’s direct operations as the first phase of a larger biodiversity footprint.
To understand more about the company’s direct operations, site managers were sent questionnaires about the activities over which the company had operational and/or financial control. We worked with the client to identify a site typology, then representative sites were selected to achieve a good sample of sites to cover every sector of the business. The questionnaire was followed up by an interview with Nature Positive staff to investigate activities, processes and assets more fully.
Once a clear understanding of possible biodiversity impact pathways was developed, Nature Positive undertook a biological data search to identify whether there were any high priority biodiversity areas or threatened species within the zone of influence of each site. These data were then used in combination with the impact pathways to calculate biodiversity risk ratings.
Nature Positive then assessed the biodiversity impacts and dependencies across the client’s operations. Using this information, we provided the company with a set of recommendations for addressing its negative impacts.