Business activities

How can environmental regulators support businesses to improve the outcomes of their operations for biodiversity, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises in the food and beverage sector in Europe?

Requesters: Louise Bond & Nicola Melville – Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
Date request received: 28/10/2016
Call for Knowledge: March-April 2017
Call for Experts: September-October 2017
Date of first meeting with requesters and EKLIPSE KCB and methods experts: 02/02/2017
Expected deadline for deliverables: final deliverables are due 30/10/2018

Background
Biodiversity loss induced by human activity and a rapid related decline in essential resources for human nutrition and well-being is one of the largest challenges facing us today. While businesses are increasingly aware of their dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystem services, practical approaches allowing companies to understand and manage their impacts on natural capital across their supply chains are lacking.
This request will focus on small and medium-sized enterprises, as these have been identified as potentially benefitting most from support in understanding, selecting, and implementing mandatory and voluntary approaches to enhance environmental sustainability, as these have not been sufficiently addressed thus far.

Figure 1 : The food and beverage supply chain
Source : Trucost. 2016. Environmentally extended input-output (EEI-O) model; Natural Capital Coalition. 2016. « Natural Capital Protocol – Food and Beverage Sector Guide ». 
 

Business Expert Working Group
The Expert Working Group (EWG) gathers 8 European experts with a broad range of expertise and EU-wide geographical representation. Two members have stepped back from their engagement in the expert working group and will be soon replaced.
 
The co-chairs of this group are:
• Delphine Gibassier (Senior Research Fellow, Birmingham Business School, Lloyds Centre for Responsible Business)
Janina Grabs (Research Associate, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)
 
The other members of the expert working group are:

• Vincenza Ferrara (Farmer, Azienza Agricola “DORA” di Vincenza Ferrara)
• Stefan Hörmann (Head of Unit, Global Natura Fund)
• Aled Jones (Director and Professor, Anglia Ruskin University)
• Stefano Targetti (Senior Researcher, Czech University of Life Sciences and University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences of Vienna)
• Lisa Biber-Freudenberger (Center for Development Research, bonn University)
• Jane Glover, University of Birmingham
• Helene Le Teno, Fermes d'Avenir Network

More information about the business EWG can be found here.

 
Current activities
The first working group meeting took place in Brussels on December 11th 2017. During this kick-off meeting, the group was formally established and ensured common understanding of the request and started to develop the future working plan among the experts. Currently, the Expert Working Group is developing the Document of Work (DoW) into a Protocol, which, following a period of extended peer-review and open consultation, will serve as the basis for their synthesis work and support the drafting of a final report/product. 
 
Past activities
This request was initially put to EKLIPSE by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in October 2016 and entitled: “What are the advantages and disadvantages of existing approaches that environmental regulators can use to enhance environmental sustainability and improve outcomes for biodiversity of small and medium-sized enterprises in the food and drink sector of Europe?”.
 
In order to refine the request, the following scoping activities were carried out: 
a. Literature scoping in order to identify already existing publications/projects/reports relevant to the request, with a special focus on existing synthesis
b. Call for Knowledge in order to identify already existing work on the request and
c. Evaluation of the policy and stakeholder relevance via bilateral telephone interviews, personal meetings and email requests to ensure the policy relevance of the request detailed below and to refine the request.
 
The Document of Work (DoW) describes the results of the scoping activities as well as further background information about the request, and was the basis for the Call for Experts (CfE.4/2017) which was opened in September 2017.
 
During the scoping process, the EKLIPSE Methods Expert Group and the KCB Business group discussed potential methods of knowledge synthesis which can be applied for this request. Building on the discussions and material prepared by the EKLIPSE Methods Expert Group, the following methods were suggested for the different steps of the request:
- Quick Scoping Review
- Solutions Scanning
- Delphi Process
- Non-systematic Literature Review
- Multi-Criteria Analysis
 
See the DoW for more details about the proposed methods and the stages at which they are to be applied.