What are biodiversity ecosystem services (BES)?

biodiversity ecosystem

Biodiversity, which refers to the variety of life in species and ecosystems, is essential for the stability and provision of ecosystem services. This concept is a fundamental aspect of sustainability qualifications, emphasising the need for sustainable management and protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

All agricultural and food systems are built on ecosystem services. Nature gives us raw materials for medicine, industry and buildings, clean air, food, water, and much more. Ecosystems render services that are vital for the sustainability and quality of the lives of people. 

Continue reading to learn more about biodiversity ecosystem services (BES) and the link between businesses and biodiversity. 

About biodiversity ecosystem services 

Ecosystem services, encompassing a multitude of advantages that nature provides to our society, are integral to human existence. They make life possible by offering clean water and nutritious food, regulating climate and disease, and providing recreational, cultural, and spiritual benefits. Additionally, these services support crucial processes like the pollination of soil and crop formation, highlighting the effectiveness of nature-based solutions in sustaining our natural environment and its myriad benefits.

In essence, ecosystems offer four main services to the world – provisioning services, regulating services, supporting services, and finally cultural services. While these services have been estimated at $125 trillion, they are not adequately accounted for in economic and political policy. What this means is that there is insufficient investment in their management and protection. 

Some initiatives and programmes have been developed that focus on how we can better protect ecosystems, as a result. The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net) was jointly implemented by UNDP, UNESCO (providing technical support on indigenous and local knowledge since 2020), and UNEP-WCMC (hosting the National Ecosystem Assessment Initiative). 

It aims to build commitment and capacity for biodiversity action worldwide by translating the latest Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ (IPBES) products into action for conservation and biodiversity on the ground. It is funded by the Government of Germany, via the International Climate Initiative, as well as SwedBio.

The relationship between business and biodiversity 

Biodiversity is a major component of long-term business survival. Therefore, it should be considered in your green business plan. Organisations rely on species, genes, and ecosystem services as vital inputs into their production processes. Additionally, they depend on healthy and thriving ecosystems to dissipate and treat waste, maintain water and soil quality, and help control the air composition. 

For example, the diversity of wild relatives of the main food crops is used by agribusinesses to assure crop resilience to pests and diseases. While biodiversity ecosystem services can help support business growth, industry, and business can have significant negative effects on biodiversity resources. Therefore, it is critical enterprises recognise this and take action. Businesses can impact biodiversity resources directly, indirectly, or cumulatively. 

The largest international biodiversity agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), has emphasised the significance of the private sector in attaining the convention’s three main goals. Some of these objectives include conserving biological diversity, ensuring fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation of generic resources, and the sustainable use of its components. 


Capital could be taken away from businesses that cause negative biodiversity impacts or natural resources. By contrast, if businesses manage biodiversity risk, they can enhance resilience, improve productivity and boost sustainable business growth. Ecosystem services are not only vital for businesses to successfully run but also to support human life on Earth. Therefore, organisations must understand the important role they have to play in biodiversity conservation. Protecting ecosystem services and conserving biodiversity will help us massively in our fight to save the planet.

To effectively contribute to this effort, businesses can benefit from our environmental sustainability course, which equips participants with the knowledge and skills to implement sustainable practices and make a positive impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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