Managing Biodiversity Through Stakeholder Involvement: Why, Who, and for What Initiatives?

Journal of Business Ethics 140 (3):403-421 (2017)
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Abstract

The increasing pressures to conserve biodiversity—particularly for industries based on the exploitation of natural resources—have reinforced the need to implement specific measures in this area. Corporate commitment to preserving biodiversity is increasingly scrutinized by stakeholders and now represents an important aspect of business ethics. Although stakeholder involvement is often essential to the management of biodiversity, very few studies in the literature have focused on the details of this involvement. The objective of this paper is to analyze how mining and forestry companies can manage biodiversity issues through stakeholder involvement based on a content analysis of 430 sustainability reports using the Global Reporting Initiative framework. The paper elucidates the reasons for such involvement, the nature of stakeholders involved, and the types of measures employed to manage biodiversity. Stakeholders’ motives for becoming involved revolve around four main issues: complexity and knowledge management; self-regulation and relationships with public authorities; legitimacy and social responsiveness; and commercial and strategic objectives. The stakeholders involved in biodiversity initiatives are essentially non-governmental organizations, experts and universities, public authorities, and coalitions of companies. In the end, the initiatives identified can be grouped into three categories: management practices, socio-political actions, and research and conservation measures. The paper provides various examples of these initiatives and shows how they can be implemented in collaboration with different stakeholders depending on the company’s objectives. The contributions the study makes to the literature on biodiversity management and the managerial implications of the study are analyzed in the discussion section.

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