Witteveen+Bos makes pledge for biodiversity

Biodiversity is declining all across the world, including in the Netherlands. It is Witteveen+Bos’s ambition to contribute as much as possible to reversing this negative trend. This is why we have made a pledge as part of the Dutch action agenda for biodiversity, in connection with the Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China (11-24 October 2021). Would you like to know what Witteveen+Bos has committed to? Then keep reading.

Witteveen+Bos’s Marcel Klinge (Senior Adviser Ecology) explains: ‘The decline of our biodiversity – the disappearance of countless plant and animal species – is in and of itself a tragedy. Over the past 40 years, we’ve lost no less than 60 % of all wild plant and animal populations. But actually, we’re talking about a much bigger crisis with economic and humanitarian aspects too. We depend on our biodiversity in many different ways. Clean water, clean air, fertile soils, crop pollination, a liveable climate: all of these are directly or indirectly related to biodiversity – to the state of our ecosystems. So, loss of biodiversity is a threat to all humanity,’ says Klinge.

Recovery does not happen by itself and is a major global challenge. This is why it is important that government, the business community, entrepreneurs and private individuals tackle this together. Marcel explains: ‘As an engineering firm, Witteveen+Bos is in a great position to make an important contribution. Everything we do in our projects involving water, soil and the atmosphere, and all the infrastructure we work on in rural and urban areas – all of this has a big impact on biodiversity. This means that we can use all our advice and designs to work on improving biodiversity too. We’ve got to make biodiversity a part of everything we do, from the planning stage right through to project execution – together with our clients and the many partners we collaborate with’.

Working on biodiversity through the SDPS

‘Nowadays we use sustainable design principles in all our designs; these are based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,’ says Klinge. ‘One of our design principles is ‘Designing with nature’, which means that in all our designs we make as much use as possible of natural processes to enhance our designs and improve biodiversity. Formulating and publishing the pledge wasn’t difficult for us – we’ve been working this way for a long time and are happy to make that known. We’re glad to see that many companies and other organisations are also putting together a pledge and working on improving biodiversity. We really need to do this together.’

Business operations

In its business operations, too, Witteveen+Bos is increasingly looking for opportunities to stimulate nature recovery and biodiversity. A number of office buildings have been modified – for example, to accommodate nesting boxes – and a large garden with indigenous plants was recently installed on the roof of our head office in Deventer.

Pledge and Biodiversity Conference

The Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15) will take place in October 2021. The IUCN (National Committee of the Netherlands) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) are jointly working on a Dutch Action Agenda for Biodiversity to meet the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) targets for 2030. As part of this, Dutch organisations have been called upon to contribute by making a ‘pledge’. Witteveen+Bos, where biodiversity is a focal point, has also made a pledge. The Dutch organisations’ pledges together form the action agenda, which the Dutch delegation will take to the Biodiversity Conference in Kunming.