Master Class: 8th May 2014

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Leaders for Nature India organized its first Master Class on May, 8th 2014 in New Delhi.

“It is high time business starts internalizing its environmental externalities, and build towards a green Indian economy” said Country Representative IUCN India Mr. PR Sinha, while addressing the businesses.

During the full-day Master Class, the members of the network and other interested parties sat together with leading experts from the IUCN team to understand its impacts and dependencies on nature as well as assess what opportunities and risks arise from this. An introduction was also given to the knowledge tools of IUCN, such as IBAT (Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool).

The Master Class was attended by representatives of 9 different companies, all major players within the Indian economy from both direct, indirect and leveraging sectors. They included– Tata Sons, Tata Capital, Tata Power, Rio Tinto, Cairn India, Wipro, ACC, Ambuja Cement and IOCL. All participant companies were represented by a team consisting of both senior level executives from the sustainability teams as well as managers from the business itself, thereby creating space for dialogue and discussion.

The Masterclass was based on the Biodiversity Ecosystem training developed by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and was modified for the Indian audience. Ms. Bette Harms, Coordinator Leaders for Nature Academy, facilitated the training using pedagogy based on explanatory lecture and participatory exercises and post session discussions.

Mr. Martin Sneary, Programme Director, IBAT delivered an exposure session to the participants about the tool, its source of information and most significant, its benefits to the businesses. Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) is tool for corporates that provides basic risk screening on biodiversity. Its source of information consists of globally recognize IUCN’s flagship Knowledge Products: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Key Biodiversity Areas (priority sites for conservation) and The World Database on Protected Areas. Mr. Sneary also presented some success stories of the companies subscribed to IBAT. The session was followed by the question & answers round with the participants.

During the Master Class, Rio Tinto India’s Managing Director, Dr. Nik Senapati, shared the experience of Rio Tinto’s journey towards Net Positive Impact. He explained that developing new operations for Rio Tinto actually starts with its exit plans, and gave some examples of how they currently try to off-set their impacts. In India, mining giant Rio Tinto, which is operating the Bunder diamond project in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, is working on compensatory plantations and towards Vulture specie conservation together with IUCN member, the Bombay National History Society (BNHS).

At the end of the day, the participating companies were introduced to the Natural Capital Road Map of Leaders for Nature and were asked to work on thinking what type of actions they want to develop as part of the network. Their ideas were focused around building of capacity – both internally as well as within other stakeholders such as the government, quantifying material impacts, and risk assessment. IUCN’s role as knowledge network and bridge builder was concluded to be crucial in the realization of these plans.