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700,000 euros to raise awareness and train companies
Friday 27 May 2022
Involve businesses in the region to commit to preserving biodiversity, both on land and at sea. That is the aim of the partnership between Cap Business Océan Reeks, an association that brings together players from the regional private sector, and Expertise France, a subsidiary of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) group. A €700,000 financing agreement was signed between the two entities on Friday, May 13, on the sidelines of World Biodiversity Day, which is held every year on May 22, as part of the Varuna program. The aim is to unite a group of development partners around a crucial topic: protecting the biodiversity hotspot of the southwestern Indian Ocean.
These funds will fund the Business for Biodiversity project, which provides awareness-raising and capacity-building actions for businesses in the area through 2025. The aim is to help them measure their impact on ecosystems and adopt nature-based practices and solutions.
“The observation is unanimous: private companies in the region are not very aware of biodiversity issues and have even fewer tools to measure their environmental footprint. With the Business for Biodiversity project we aim to remedy this through awareness raising, training and technical support. In doing so, we want them to integrate biodiversity issues into their management and to reflect on their production methods,” explains Virginie Lauret, Executive Director of Cap Business Océan Reeks. “We are proud to have the support of Expertise France, which gives us the opportunity to participate in the implementation of part of the Varuna programme,” she adds.
For Valentin Grange, project manager within the Biodiversity Division of Expertise France, “The exceptional endemic biodiversity of the southwestern Indian Ocean represents a strong identity for the region. However, this identity is threatened by the erosion of biodiversity, which jeopardizes all ecosystem services, such as freshwater supply, soil regulation and pollination. These ecosystem services are still little taken into account in the growth plans of the private sector. Therefore, we believe it is necessary to encourage coordinated efforts and support the economic players in the region to address the challenges of ecological transition. Thanks to its action and its ability to structure networks of regional players, Cap Business Océan Deze is the ideal partner to carry out this mission”.
The implementation of this project will be led in the six territories of the region by a project manager who will be recruited shortly. In addition to developing an action plan, he will be responsible for leading a public-private dialogue platform on issues of biodiversity, natural capital and nature-based solutions. Academics from the region are closely involved in these exchanges in order to strengthen the relationship between the academic and economic world.
Various awareness-raising tools will be developed throughout the program to popularize knowledge, in particular on the indicators of the environmental impact of companies. Chartered accountants and CSR managers of companies in the region are trained in social and environmental accounting tools.
For Cap Business Océan Reeks, this collaboration with Expertise France is part of the strategy presented in the Roadmap 2021-2026, published in November 2021. In which the association has made the conservation of biodiversity a transversal priority, as well as the circular economy, inclusion , and low-carbon and business resilience strategies. The aim is to advance a new economic model that is fairer, more sustainable and more resilient on a regional scale. The Business for Biodiversity project is made possible thanks to funding from France through AFD and its subsidiary Expertise France.