Dr Richard Young

Title: Dr Richard Young, Non-executive Director

Keywords: Ecologist, Conservation scientist, Sheffield-born Sheffield Wednesday fan, smallmammalologist, Plodding runner, the Values guy

Abstract: I first got involved with Biocensus because it was trying to do something different and exciting – and because as a poor ecologist I needed the money! But it is Biocensus’ engaging vision which combines hard-nosed commercial goals with an ambition to make a positive impact on the planet that really turned my head.

As an ecologist working in the biodiversity conservation sector for the past 10 years, I have seen first-hand the extent of the destruction and degradation of natural habitats and wildlife populations in both the developed and developing worlds. And what these impacts mean for people – whether locally or globally. But these environmental challenges can’t of course be met by the charitable sectors alone.

I am increasingly convinced that the private sector holds the key to securing the future of our natural environment. And that the drivers of this will be rational and commercial. Businesses are becoming more and more aware of the importance of the benefits provided by nature - or ‘natural capital’ - to their future prosperity – whether it is sustainability of supply chains, licence to operate or develop, consumer and investor choices or future-proofing for legislative change. Business leaders are starting to wonder how dependent their company - including the supply chain - is on natural capital. They want to understand what environmental impacts the company might be having and how these can be measured.

Whilst easy to write, these questions are very difficult to answer.

Currently, I am Head of Conservation Science at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, an international wildlife conservation charity. I am also Co-Chair of the Species Survival Commission’s Small Mammal Specialist Group, which advises the World Conservation Union (IUCN) on the status of over 2800 mammal species. As a Director of Biocensus, I bring this knowledge of global biodiversity issues to advise on the development of our corporate biodiversity assessment services and tools and to address these pressing questions – how can business measure the impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and the benefits provided by nature? And what does this mean for a company in terms of risks and opportunities?

It's an exciting time to be in this field.

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