Private Business Action for Biodiversity

Private Business Action for Biodiversity

Commissioned by Lead Executing Agency
German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV)
This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). BMUV supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.
Brazil, India and Mexico
Lead Implementing Agency Duration
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH November 2016 - 2021


The Western Ghats of India have been listed amongst the world´s most important Biodiversity Hotspots. At the same time, they are one of the main areas for spice cultivation. Spices are a prime source of livelihood for millions of smallholder producers in India. However, changes in agropractices are not only putting spice production at risk, but also destroying biodiversity and the environment.

Biodiversity is the diversity of life, comprising the wealth of species, genes and ecosystems on Earth. It provides the basis for functioning ecosystems, which in turn deliver services such as fertile soils, clear water, pollination and climate regulation. However, increasing loss of biodiversity is gradually jeopardising human livelihoods. Businesses can play an important role in combating the causes of biodiversity loss. A promising approach is to promote biodiversity-friendly production and commercialisation.

There are many examples from the Western Ghats which prove that biodiversity-friendly spice production is possible. The spices can be cultivated in mixed cropping systems; and it is possible to reduce the use of chemical pesticides, or to even replace them completely. However, many businesses are not conscious of these practices due to lack of information and awareness about the concepts of biodiversity and ecosystem services. This is especially true when it comes to integrating biodiversity into business operations.



The ‘Private Business Action for Biodiversity’ (PBAB) project pursues to identify and analyse capable mechanisms and instruments for promoting biodiversity-friendly production and commercialisation. The test pilot approaches are operating in three partner countries – India, Brazil and Mexico. The project aims to learn from the pilot implementation to develop mechanisms and instruments where required, and to systemise the experiences gained, in a way which enables both the private and public actors to use them. The results will be then discussed at the national and international level.

In India, the project has the following objectives:

  • To adapt instruments for integrating biodiversity aspects—in and around farms, such as management tools, biodiversity action plans—to the needs of small-scale spice producers, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Western Ghats, and the improved instruments are used within the spice sector.
  • To improve awareness and knowledge regarding biodiversity-friendly production and commercialisation in the spice sector amongst the private and public actors.


In India, the project will identify and test instruments and mechanisms that promote biodiversity-friendly production and commercialisation in the spice sector in the Western Ghats. Predominant spices here are pepper (black and green), cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The project aims to disseminate existing examples of biodiversity-friendly production and commercialisation by introducing management tools that improve the integration of biodiversity aspects. These tools are not yet widely acknowledged and have not yet been adapted to the context of Indian smallholder producers.

As the first step, the project will adapt the method to the Indian context with a group of Indian and international experts. A training of trainers at intermediary level—agricultural advisors to companies and standard organisations—will build capacity on biodiversity aspects in general, and on the application of these instruments. Furthermore, the project is planning to accompany smallholder producers during pilot implementations on selected areas together with partners. It will also sensitise smallholder producers to biodiversity on and around their farmland. The project envisages collaboration with spice companies, business associations, ministries as well as non-government organisations. In addition, the project intends to cooperate closely with other interested initiatives and regional networks.

The private sector still needs to improve and strengthen its methodological knowledge, establish appropriate market conditions, and reduce transaction costs to convert existing production systems into biodiversity-friendly ones. Moreover, the public sector requires enhanced information to support the appropriate framework conditions. It is important to identify new opportunities to promote and finance biodiversity-friendly production, commercialization and marketing.



To promote biodiversity-friendly production and commercialization in the spice sector in Western Ghats, the project identified and tested management tools that improve the integration of biodiversity.

The project identified Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) as helpful instrument for companies and producers to schedule, implement and monitor biodiversity measures in and around and elaborated a manual for Biodiversity Action Plans together with the Global Nature Fund (GNF) and the Union for Ethical Biotrade (UEBT). Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) are road maps for regenerating biodiversity as part of agricultural production and collection on farm and in the surrounding areas. They helped to plan, implement and monitor agricultural measures for the protection of biodiversity, thereby shedding a light on the protection and enhancement of ecological structures as well as promoting very good agricultural practices to reduce the negative impact of farming practices (e.g., reduced use of pesticides, erosion control, mixed cropping systems).

Biodiversity-friendly production helped spice companies to plan their sourcing of spices with more focus on biodiversity integration, which enables them to predict long-term sustainability of their supply chain. This was an opportunity for the companies to identify operational risks, to measure the impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystem services and develop actions to mitigate and manage. Companies that participated in the project now are working intensively on biodiversity management in their operations at the company level and also at the field level. Biodiversity Action Plans have been well accepted, as they are hands-on, flexible and can easily be adapted to the specific contexts on farm. Not only spice sector, however, other sectors also have potential to implement and upscale Biodiversity Action plan at landscape level.

The project supported the private sector’s contributions towards Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Indian businesses prioritised top four commitments as listed below for biodiversity conservation, reversing nature loss, and living in harmony with nature:

  • Mainstreaming Post- 2020 targets to reduce footprint on nature and promote biodiversity conservation across value chain by 2025
  • Avoid or limit disturbances of natural spaces and promote No Net Loss or Net Positive approach among all operations by 2030
  • Collaboration with local authorities and communities for sustainable consumption and production
  • Initiatives for monetary and non - monetary benefit sharing to local stakeholders and tribal communities


  • More than 800 farmers and 70 trainers trained
  • 100 Biodiversity Action Plan pilot implementations with farmers
  • Biodiversity assessment with 7 major spice exporting companies conducted
  • Position Paper developed with Indian Businesses for Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
  • Project results integrated into National Sustainable Spice Program in 2020.


The project contributes particularly to SDG 12 to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns and SDG 15, to sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.


All publications and movies of this project can be accessed via the Resources section on this website, by selecting the topic “Business and Biodiversity”.


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Regenerative Organic Agriculture Flyer



Working Paper on Biodiversity and Employment



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