When I was recently driving my car (which rarely happens) on the highway, I could see it with my own eyes: Insects on the windshield? Hardy visible! And I can well remember the times I used to drive with my parents to Denmark or other vacation spots, when the whole windshield was covered with them after not more than 200 miles of driving. Today, the occurrence of flight insects in Germany hast increased by 75% (!). Until now, no one really seemed to care. But at least some participants of “the economy” have slowly started to address the topic.
If it was not so sad one could laugh about it: All the sudden, bees and other insects are not only a topic for “eco freaks”, but also for investors, consultancies, and financial experts. One of the leading auditing companies recently published an article on their website describing the following:
Investors become more and more aware, that the loss of biodiversity has major consequences. Economists can quantify some of the ecosystem services (ESS). According to them, the performance of insects, that pollinate three quarters of all crop plants worldwide, is worth 1 trillion US dollars per year. All in all, 55% of the economic performance worldwide depends on functioning eco systems and the related ESS (≈ 42 trillion US dollars). Accordingly, the danger of the loss of diversity is considered the third largest risk worldwide (…)
Companies and investors will have to face a variety of risks due to the loss of biodiversity – and these are already quite tangible today. There are for example insurance risks: When the loss of an ecosystem of, for example, a coastal landscape causes damage to the natural buffer against flooding and potential damages are not covered anymore. The major loss of ecosystems also involves substantial market risks. The transmission of pathogens from wild animals to humans as a result of destroyed habitats are one example of the effects and costs. The loss or the shortage of natural recourses can cause significant risks for investments. Credit and reputation risks are further consequences.* (Translated from German)
Okay. Perhaps, people start to realize that money cannot be eaten. And that one cannot make use of the ecosystem at any time and free of cost.
When looking for solutions, the first step is the most important one at the same time: The integration of biodiversity into the sustainingly strategy. That way it is guaranteed that a company has responsibility and also accepts it (even if “only” in its very own interest). That is the foundation of everything. And then you start searching – for example for the reasons of the extinction of insects:
Additionally: In Germany alone 600 tons of pesticides are used in private gardens per year. That is a field in which all of us can become active and change something. All it takes is a little courage to accept chaos.
In the early days of Mount Hagen in the mid-80s we made the fundamental decision to solely cultivate organic and biodynamic coffee. No matter if on Papua New Guinea. In Ethiopia. Or in Peru, where we actively support the expansion of Demeter cultivation with prefinancing. That way, we can not only ensure the preservation of biodiversity. The ecological cultivation in so called coffee gardens under shade trees significantly safes water and builds a layer of humus on the soil, which then again functions as a CO2 reservoir (not to mention the plant nutrients). On our blog you find a series of articles on how that works, for example here: Rooted in respect.
By the way: A study by geographers of the University College London reveals that the (CO2) emissions from the sustainable cultivation of coffee are at best only a quarter of the emissions from conventional cultivation.***
Strategic consumption, the power of the consumers, was underrated for a long time – especially by the consumers themselves. But the good news is: With everyday grocery shopping, the decisions for or against organic products, Demeter, and Fair trade, every one of us makes politics. Makes an impact on companies and our surrounding – even if you do not consider yourself an eco-missionary. Only the recognition, that the famous sustainability does not mean sacrifice but “only” to consciously chose another path, helps already.
**If you want to lean more: www.bund.net/bund-in-english/