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Business & Biodiversity (3/3): The Short Circuit Project

By March 14, 2019 April 23rd, 2020 No Comments

Making a positive impact on biodiversity in a cost-driven world

Our journey

In our first article in this series you have read how since our inception we have tried to make a positive impact on biodiversity together with the business community. You may have also read that this often did not succeed: there was not always a clear link with the company’s needs. We then took you on a journey of our lessons learned:

  1. Provide a perspective to act
  2. Talk business
  3. Focus on the start of the supply chain
  4. In farmers we trust

These lessons do not yet offer a concrete solution for companies but do form our framework. Should we then accept that companies with long supply chains cannot generate a positive impact on biodiversity? That it is all too complicated? That in a few years we will lose even more species? And that we are about to lose the basis of our Planet’s ecosystem and that we are going to notice the devastating effects? For us, this was unthinkable.

We have therefore put a lot of work into developing an approach so that any company can make a direct positive impact on biodiversity, no matter how complex and nontransparent the supply chain. We call this approach The Short Circuit Project.

The principle works as follows: companies at the end of the chain pay a premium directly to farmers at the start of the chain in order to improve their impact on biodiversity. This premium is directly related to the volume of raw materials used in their end products. By working volume-based, it is not an issue if you don’t know who farms your ingredients at the end of the chain*.

We will explain it step by step.

Imagine that for every product that a company sells, a small amount goes directly to the farmer, around the chain, according to the so-called mass balance* principle. In reality, this premium is only a few cents. In the case of a pair of socks worth €9,00, a premium of €0,04 can already be sufficient to double the income of a farmer. With the extra income, farmers can invest in more sustainable agricultural practices with a focus on improving biodiversity. You can think about measures such as putting a stop to the use of pesticides, planting (fruit)trees In between crops or introducing intercropping. Simple and effective. Good for biodiversity, the landscape, and the farmer.

In short, The Short Circuit Project is an action-oriented, volume-based approach and works through the principle of mass-balance. It is therefore affordable, simple and scalable.

Ready to take action?

Are you interested and do you want to know more, please contact Nature^Squared. We help you calculate the biodiversity premium (we have already carried out calculations for the most common raw materials), we connect you with a group of farmers, provide best practices and monitor the results. We have recently completed our first pilot with a company that develops physiotherapy products and are now looking for new partners to scale up.

Therefore, we organize a focus group with experts and interested parties on Thursday evening 28 March (18:00 – 20:30h at Valschermkade 16, Amsterdam). Please send us an e-mail, we are pleased to welcome you!

*Mass balance: The Short Circuit Project is based on the principle of mass-balance. This means that you create a positive impact based on the volume of ingredients you use without having to disrupt your chain. Just like green energy. This is perhaps not the ideal solution, but it enables you to immediately start improving biodiversity. For many companies, the process of mapping out the entire chain is simply too difficult. The Short Circuit project is equally applicable when you do know your farmers or want to identify them, but it is not a prerequisite.