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Biodiversity and sustainable development: from biodiversity strategies to environmental calculations

Biodiversity is a foundation for life that people, businesses and societies are dependent on. For companies, biodiversity means not only an opportunity and a source of raw materials and other necessary ecosystem services, but also business risks as the loss of natural resources increases. We at Sweco and our subsidiary Gaia Consulting help our customers manage their natural capital sustainably and take nature into account as part of their projects. Our services include biodiversity strategies and guidelines, various types of biodiversity mappings, nature impact and risk analyses, as well as reviews on ecological compensation.

Wellbeing for nature and added value for business through biodiversity strategy

In order for nature to recover and the loss of biodiversity to be prevented, extensive societal changes are required. For companies, this will mean a need to identify the effects that their activities have on the environment and dependencies throughout the value chain. Based on these, companies will be able to assess their operations and look for new business models that support biodiversity.

The biodiversity strategy puts into words the way in which a company’s business operations can bring added value to the economy and nature. A strategic approach can help manage business risks arising from loss of natural resources and identify new opportunities at the forefront of a nature-positive transition. The minimum standards for companies’ biodiversity work are determined by UN conventions, and EU and Finnish legislation.

Holistic approach to maintaining biodiversity

Holistic approach to maintaining biodiversity

Sweco aims to strike a balance between man and nature through various biodiversity projects, creating sustainable and responsible business. When assessing environmental impacts, we examine the potential effects of a planned project on people, the environment and biodiversity. The assessment helps decision-makers, project owners and designers make the right decisions on the implementation of projects, as well as on the prevention and minimisation of their environmental impacts.

Our objective in land use and town planning is to create areas that promote ecosystem services and reduce adverse environmental effects. When planning the layout of a city, we emphasise an ecological community structure that combines efficient land use, green areas and environmentally friendly public transport. Our aim is to improve the quality of habitats and reduce pollution and energy consumption.

In landscape design , we take local vegetation and biodiversity into account, which increases the ecological value of the area. One aspect of landscape design is creating plans for planted vegetation, which involves choosing suitable plant species that promote biodiversity by providing habitats for different species. Wherever possible, we always make use of environmentally friendly solutions, such as green roofs and walls, and organic building materials.

Tools to promote biodiversity

Quantification methods pertaining to biodiversity are important for assessing the current state of and changes in biodiversity. The methods can be used to investigate either specific groups of organisms or the entire ecosystem. We use the findings to assess the prevalence of species, their level of endangerment and the condition of habitats, and to plan and monitor conservation and restoration measures.

 

Sweco’s biodiversity tool  index the level of biodiversity

 

Sweco’s biodiversity tool  index the level of biodiversity

 

Sweco’s biodiversity tool can be used to index the level of biodiversity in a planning area before and after measures.

One example of using the method is surveying an area before a construction decision is made: urban infill can be focused on areas that are less important in terms of biodiversity. The tool can be used in both urban planning and industrial areas.

Eeva Punta

Bioeconomy Lead

Marko Takala

Environment and biodiversity

Laila Huovinen-Manu

Environmental management, biodiversity, EIA and environmental permit procedure

Jenny Asanti

Landscape Design

Piia Pessala

Strategic planning

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