Biodiversity "Risk and Opportunity" Tool Widens Its Reach
A tool which enables companies and organisations working in agriculture to better identify risks and opportunities related to biodiversity and ecosystem services has been adopted by another major company.
Corporate partners from ITC discuss the applications of the BROA tool.
A tool which enables companies and organizations working in agriculture to better identify risks and opportunities has been adopted by another major company. The Biodiversity Risk and Opportunity Assessment Tool, co-developed by Earthwatch, is being implemented by ITC in two Indian states and we aim to produce a case study which will cast light on whether sustainable farms lead to sustainable landscapes.
The Biodiversity Risk & Opportunity Assessment tool (BROA) helps a company or organization with agricultural operations or supply chains to identify, assess, and prioritize risks and opportunities related to biodiversity and ecosystem services in the agricultural landscapes where they operate.
The well-structured practical process was jointly developed by Earthwatch, Fauna and Flora International and the Tropical Biology Association through the long-standing British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership.
BROA helps businesses identify and address issues that may affect the long term sustainability of their supply chains and is an excellent way of engaging farmers, agricultural professionals and other stakeholders in practical steps to support the conservation of biodiversity in landscapes around the world.
In 2013 Earthwatch trained 14 managers/agronomists from ITC, a leading company and three of its associates with a wide range of agricultural interests. ITC is currently carrying out BROA in a range of locations in two states of India with the support of Earthwatch.
A piece of particular interest is the implementation of BROA in a spice growing region where ITC sources produce from farms certified by Rainforest Alliance. As well as enabling ITC to identify and address their operational risks, the application of BROA here will facilitate a case study that will go some way to answering a question of real interest; namely, do sustainable farms mean sustainable landscapes?
Srinath Ramakkrushnan, of the ITC Sustainability Cell, said: "Links between biodiversity and business operations are often not easily visible. BROA is an important tool for field practitioners in Agri Businesses that helps them unearth the key biodiversity related risks and dependencies in crop growing landscapes.
“It is simple to understand, logically constructed, covers sustainability issues comprehensively and is highly implementation oriented. We started our BROA implementation journey at ITC – Agri Business Division – ILTD last year and we are already scaling up the program across all our key crop growing regions.
“A highly useful and recommended tool!"
Agricultural landscapes are vital for food production and local community livelihoods, yet their productivity ultimately depends on natural ecosystem services, and they often harbor abundant wildlife.
British American Tobacco has used BROA since 2006 in 20 countries. The Partnership created and launched an updated version of BROA in 2012 based on feedback from the initial application and reviews by experts from leading conservation organizations.
The tool is freely available for use and has received recognition from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Business for Social Responsibility, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
BROA takes a landscape-level approach to identifying risks and opportunities and is not limited to any one crop – we are keen to help other companies and organizations use BROA in a range of agricultural activities.