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Integrating Biodiversity into the Chemical Industry’s Priorities

Chemistry plays an essential role in the products and technologies we use every day. While ACC member companies are developing products that are critical to advancing sustainability in our communities and around the world, chemicals also need to be produced and used in ways that protect the health of our communities and the natural environment. 

Biodiversity—defined by the United Nations as “the 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”—is an increasingly critical issue for the chemical industry and one that is extremely important to me.

I’ve dedicated my career to improving policies and procedures related to environmental management and resource conservation. As the Managing Director of Sustainability at ACC, I work with our members as they advance progress and action to promote sustainability. The intersection of climate, water, and nature is at the core of our industry’s sustainability efforts, and more companies are recognizing the importance of preserving ecosystems and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources.

For more than a century, chemistry has enabled solutions to some of the world’s most daunting sustainability challenges. Today, I’m excited to see how our member companies are already engaging on biodiversity issues. From participating in multi-stakeholder forums to collaborating with NGOs to integrate nature into business decisions, our members are uniquely positioned to lead the way to deliver nature-focused actions to help address biodiversity issues.

Recently, ACC hosted a member webinar with speakers from industry and conservation communities, who shared their experiences and insights about biodiversity. Here are some key takeaways and strategies that they shared with our members:

Collaboration is Key

  • The relationship between private enterprise and the natural world is becoming increasingly intertwined. Collaboration among industry, federal agencies, local communities, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can bring stakeholders together with a shared mission to improve ecosystem preservation and promote the sustainable use of natural resources.

Develop a Business Case for Your Company

  • Companies can choose business as usual, or they can opt for a future that recognizes and respects their dependencies on nature and the ecosystems surrounding their facilities and supply chains. Shifting a company’s culture on biodiversity issues is significant—it is not necessarily realistic to think that everyone will be 100 percent on board at the beginning, but you can start by identifying what success in this area looks like for your company and building a strategy around it.  

Start Somewhere

  • While understanding the intricacies around biodiversity can be challenging, there are many “no-regrets” actions that our industry can take to begin tackling these challenges. Just starting somewhere is a great first step. This applies even to small and medium-sized companies that may need more time but can start with some initial steps of internal discussion. More and more, companies are recognizing that they have the tools and frameworks to work in harmony with nature. There are many ways for companies to engage—company culture and facility location are just two factors that shape how a company can consider and prioritize biodiversity.

Join me on May 22 to recognize the United Nation’s International Day for Biological Diversity to increase awareness and understanding of biodiversity issues. U.N. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 is devoted to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.”

As consumer demand for sustainable and responsibly sourced products continues to rise, our industry can and will look to the future and towards actions to help minimize the impact on the global environment and ecosystems within our communities.

About the Author
American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.

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