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THE GSES system
The GSE-Standard for Bio-Diversity is based on the UN Guidance Note on Standard 1: Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resource Management. As yet, there are no internationally accepted certifiable standards available for managing biodiversity on the organizational level, comparable to ISO standards.
Currently, an ISO standard for biodiversity is being developed. Until its formal publication, the GSE-pillar aligns with the UN standard just mentioned and the ISO High Level Structure.
Key topics are:
Impact of production of food, fibre and fuel on species and ecosystems
- Extinction risks and critical habitats (how endangered are species and what are the conditions they rely on)
- Influencing the supply chain to prevent ecosystem destruction
- By working on the Biodiversity Pillar of GSE-Standard, the organization can contribute to the realization of the following SDGs: 2, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17.
BIO Pillar content
The CO2 Pillar checks context analysis in the same way as the other pillars:
- Issues (both internal and external) related to CO2 and the value chain need to be analysed.
- The organization should identify the stakeholders who are directly or indirectly involved.
- After the context and stakeholder analysis, CO2 specific risks and opportunities should be addressed
The Pillar checks if management is committed and shows leadership with regard to Biodiversity.
Organizations should manage their sustainability risks and opportunities. The objective of risk management in the context of CSR is to identify the internal and external risks and opportunities related to the activities of the organization. It aims to create priorities and to manage these risks and opportunities.
This applies not only to the risks and opportunities for the organization itself, but also for the risks and opportunities for society, local environment, economic system, and natural environment. It further includes if stakeholders in the value chain and beyond are able to meet the CSR requirements of laws and regulations, international standards of conduct, industry association agreements and the objectives of the own organization.
The Pillar checks if management is committed and shows leadership with regard to CSR.
According to this standard, a company’s policy must include:
- the relationship between biodiversity and the organization’s vision, mission and strategy
- global and national biodiversity trends and relevant policy developments
- concrete goals for improving biodiversity, globally and/or nationally
- the importance of identifying and involving internal and external stakeholders in the policy and actions for biodiversity
- the importance of identifying the direct impacts of the organization on biodiversity as well as the indirect impacts via the supply chain and customer base
- communicating about biodiversity with suppliers and customers
Furthermore, the pillar checks if an organization:
- has made an inventory of, and prevents and limits, the actual and potential adverse effects of the organization on biodiversity:
- is actively involved in biodiversity action for specific areas in the supply chain (e.g. via biodiversity covenant, Biodiversity Action Plan, Biodiversity Management Plan)
In the GSE standard, attention is paid to active involvement in biodiversity action for specific geographical areas, the adoption of specific and suitable supporting tools for managing biodiversity and impacts on biodiversity (e.g. education, impact assessment), and to communication about biodiversity with various stakeholders.
For operational aspects, organizations are asked to show:
- the percentage of their turnover created by selling products or services that are demonstrably beneficial for biodiversity,
- and the degree to which they have implemented conditions relating to biodiversity into contracts with suppliers and supply chain audit effort.
- other specific measures and projects for improving biodiversity, e.g. . projects to improve biodiversity on the company sites or in the public space.
The GSE pillar on biodiversity checks of biodiversity impacts are in fact measured, monitored and assessed with specific, suitable and quantitative targets for:
- Company sites/terrains, according to the IPC method.
- Direct company impacts resulting from company processes
- Impacts in the supply chain
Last but not least, organizations must show that they draw conclusions from the biodiversity assessment and work towards continuous improvement on the basis of the assessment.