Maharashtra to promote corporate social responsibility in biodiversity protection
A conference on ‘CSR & Biodiversity’ was organized by MSBB and UNDP on November 20, 2019, in Mumbai to discuss opportunities for CSR investments in priority areas of biodiversity conservation and management in Maharashtra
Vilas Bardelar, chairman of MSBB, said, “The MSBB has developed the State Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (SBSAP), which enlists priority areas for biodiversity conservation and management in Maharashtra and outlines the important role of various stakeholders in implementing the SBSAP, including the corporate sector.”
“Continued loss of biodiversity is a matter of great concern and needs cooperation and participation of multiple stakeholders. Biodiversity loss and associated decline in ecosystem services are increasingly being recognized as business risks,” Bardekar added.
Thus, the need for sustainable management of biological resources and investment in this area becomes not only a responsibility but a necessity for business to thrive sustainable, he stressed.
Jeet Singh, PCCF & member-secretary MSBB, said, “CSR provides an immediate opportunity for companies to work together with the government in the critical areas of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in addition to mainstream biodiversity in business operations and greening the supply chain. However, as per the data available, there has been a disproportionately low CSR investment towards biodiversity.”
Nadia Rasheed, deputy resident representative of UNDP, V Rajagopalan, former secretary of MoEFCC, Annabelle Trinidad, senior technical adviser of Biodiversity Finance Initiative, UNDP, N Vasudevan, APCCF of Mangrove Cell, Mumbai, also spoke.
Reiterating UNDP’s commitment, Rashid offered support to serve as an enabler for implementation of projects in this important area. She stressed the need for sustainable management of biological resources and investment in this area becomes not only a responsibility but a necessity for business to thrive sustainably.
Contribution of CSR in India towards biodiversity is nearly 3% of total CSR expenditures and there is immense potential to enhance CSR contribution towards biodiversity.
Presentations were made on projects in key thematic areas such as agro biodiversity, sustainable models of green livelihoods, urban biodiversity, communication, education and public awareness, eco restoration and adopt a species.
Industry representatives shared several biodiversity related interventions of the companies in Maharashtra and showed their interest for working in priority areas for biodiversity conservation in the state. Singh commended the efforts by representative business houses in this area and offered to facilitate partnerships.
The conference provided a unique platform to discuss CSR investments for maintenance of the rich natural capital and ecological stability in Maharashtra which would help in dealing with some of the pressing socioeconomic and environmental challenges in the state. More than 60 participants from government, industry and technical agencies from the state participated in the conference
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