How to save $1 billion

October 6, 2008 at 1:37 am Leave a comment

If you are a Russian company thinking of putting an oil pipeline through say Lake Baikal in Southern Siberia in Russia, you might get a tad annoyed if heaps of protests cause you to shift the pipeline’s route costing you $1 billion.

But if you had looked up the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT), you would not have wasted $1 billion. IBAT is a new database that offers integrated up-to-date information on globally important biodiversity areas and legally protected sites, as well as detailed maps and data on endangered species.  Most conservation groups keep data of this sort but IBAT offers the first, integrated source, which is targeted at business. It will allow corporations to include conversation data from the start of project planning.

There is good coverage of information available with users being able to find data about individual parks, reserves, indigenous and communal areas. Sites considered globally important (protected or unprotected) are also identified, as well as areas that might contain vulnerable species.

If the Russian company had used IBAT, it would have discovered that Lake Baikal is home to four species of birds that are threatened, including the greater spotted eagle and the lesser white-fronted goose. It would also have found that the critically-endangered Siberian crane flies through the Lake Baikal area on its way to summer nesting grounds.

IBAT is a no brainer really. It will allow corporations to screen potential investment areas; develop considered action plans to address biodiversity impact; assess risks with investing in targeted areas; report on corporate social responsibility and bioversity performance.

Businesses need to register to use IBAT but from that point onwards, everything is anonymous and no records are kept. BHP recently used IBAT to check whether areas it was considering for exploration were ecologically sensitive, without alerting competitors to their interests in specific areas.

IBAT is the result of a conservation partnership between BirdLife International, Conservation International and the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre. How smart is this partnership!!  It will be officially launched at the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, which is being held as I blog.

Source: The Economist & IBAT

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Entry filed under: Animal welfare, Animals, Birds, Conservation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Education and Awareness, Endangered species, Environment, Good news story, Sustainability, Useful resources. Tags: .

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