Biodiversity and Business : Multiple Case-Studies on Biodiversity Strategy in Sweden

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi; Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Sammanfattning: Biodiversity loss has been stated as one of the greatest risks for the future society according to the World Economic Forum (2018, p. 5). A million species is risking extinction due to current societies’ practices according to a report published during the conduction of this study(Brondizio et al., 2019, p. 3). This situation of biodiversity has led an increasing amount of countries to enforce legislation which requires companies that work with land development to comply with no net loss goal. In Sweden, no such legislation existed with regards to biodiversity. Against this background, a group of seven companies in Sweden voluntarily chose to strive toward the goal of biodiversity net gain. According to BNG strategy, a company does not only avoid, minimise, restore and offset to reach the point where zero net loss of biodiversity is achieved, but goes farther to create a net gain. As it is not sufficient for companies to stop emissions in order to halt the loss of biodiversity, BNG practices can help mend and even reverse the negative impacts until a gain of biodiversity is attained. A greater understanding of the opportunities that companies can benefit from implementing BNG helps spread this practice across industries. No previous research within the business literature explains companies’ voluntary initiatives to embrace BNG. Therefore, this explorative study suggested the research question of what the drivers are encouraging companies to voluntarily work towards achieving biodiversity-net-gain in Sweden. Due to the lack of previous research about companies’ drivers to engage with BNG, our theoretical framework was found based on the drivers from business case for sustainability and CSR approaches as a factor to generate change. To be able to answer the research question, it was necessary to establish what BNG is and how it has developed from the concept of ecosystem services. Having an interpretivistic standpoint, this study was completed according to an inductive and deductive approach. This was in order to facilitate the exploratory nature that our qualitative and comparative study. We conducted a multiple-case study through semi-structured interviews with seven large companies in the context of Sweden. These businesses are considered as the most ambitious in working towards BNG’s goal. The findings from the primary data was complemented by secondary data about the companies, the status of current legislation in Sweden and the sustainability status in Sweden. As a result of this thesis, we found that cost and cost reduction, risk and risk reduction, sales and profit margin, reputation and brand value, attractiveness as employer, innovative capabilities, stakeholders and health and well-being of future society to all be drivers for BNG. By applying our theoretical framework in the Swedish context, the seven companies were identified to engage in a proactive corporate biodiversity behaviour. Business cases for biodiversity were identified in some of the companies.

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