Private Business Action for Biodiversity

Commissioned by Lead Executing Agency
German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) Brazil, India and Mexico
Lead Implementing Agency Duration
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH November 2016 - 2020


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 identify, review and analyze existing approaches. Based on the results, the project develops implementation strategies together with cooperation partners in three countries (Brazil, India, and Mexico). Furthermore, the project and its partners conduct needs assessments, which contribute to developing and strengthening know-how and capacities in the public and private sectors.

The focus is on businesses that are particularly dependent on ecosystem services, or where the value chains strongly affect ecosystems. The aim is to contribute to tangible improvements in production, commercialization and marketing, so as to strengthen and preserve biological diversity. Thus, the project explicitly builds on the interest, motivation and existing experience of the cooperating companies.

Measures and tools that prove particularly successful in the testing phase will be processed and introduced into the debate at international and national level. This way the project shares valuable experience and makes recommendations, which will contribute to achieving the objectives of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

PBAB contributes to the Implementation of the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, especially:

  • Aichi Target 3 on incentives.
  • Aichi Target 4 on the promotion of sustainable production and consumption.
  • Aichi Target 20 on the mobilization of financial resources.


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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