Home » CSR

Tag: CSR

New corporate sustainability due diligence requirements


New corporate sustainability due diligence requirements

New corporate sustainability due diligence requirements

The European Commission took a much-expected step towards sustainable corporate governance at the end of February when the proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence was published. The new EU rules will require companies to strengthen their responsibility and sustainability operations throughout their global value chains and avoid adverse impacts on human rights and the environment. Companies operating in the EU will have common rules on corporate sustainability due diligence, and by this, the responsible companies can better meet investors’ and consumers’ expectations. Companies can also benefit from having a clearer view of their operations and their suppliers’ external impacts and will be able to identify problems and risks earlier.

Companies’ due diligence requirements will be clarified

Although many companies have already taken voluntary steps on corporate responsibility, there is a need to encourage more responsible and sustainable corporate behaviour. The aim is to answer many companies’ call for legal certainty on their due diligence requirements. Better transparency is also needed, as consumers and investors are increasingly more interested in the overall sustainability of companies and their products and services.

What the rules mean in practice for companies operating in the EU?

  • Companies will have to integrate due diligence policy to identify and prevent or mitigate negative human rights, climate and environmental impacts in their value chain. These avoided impacts include issues such as inadequate workplace health and safety and, for example pollution of the environment and biodiversity loss.
  • Companies are required to have a plan to ensure that their business strategy, and remuneration policies, are in line with the Paris agreement to limit global warming to 1,5°
  • The proposal also involves new rules for companies’ directors that will have duties to set up and oversee the implementation of corporate sustainability due diligence processes and ensure that sustainability matters are taken into account in the corporate strategy also in the long term.

The proposal also includes possibility to impose fines and sanctions to companies, if a company fails to fulfil its due diligence obligations. Company can also be liable for damages if its failure to comply with the due diligence obligations leads to damages to affected people.

Large companies and high-impact sectors are in the scope

Large companies operating in the EU (500+ employees and net turnover worldwide more than 150 million euro) are in the scope of the Directive. The rules start to apply to 2 years later for smaller companies (250 + employees and net turnover worldwide more than 40 million euro) operating in defined high-impact sectors, that include e.g., the manufacture of textiles, food manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, metal products and mineral resources. Larger market players can take a leading role in mitigating the risks in their value chains and hence support smaller companies, that are not directly in the scope of the proposal.

Once the Directive is in force and applied in the EU, all companies in scope need to establish due diligence procedures and integrate human rights, environmental and climate objectives into their corporate strategy. Directors are required to consider sustainability consequences of their decisions in the short, medium and long-term. Company’s Board of Directors should, in principle, be able to assess the company’s operations from an environmental and human rights perspective.

Corporate sustainability due diligence complements EU Taxonomy and sustainability reporting

The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive complements the EU Taxonomy and CSRD (the proposal for Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) by requiring companies to identify their adverse risks and, for example, by helping in providing more detailed information on how companies respect the social safeguards as required by the Taxonomy Regulation. The CSRD will complete the last step of companies’ due diligence duty, that is the reporting part.

At the same time as the due diligence proposal is negotiated in the EU, the national corporate social responsibility legislation is being prepared in Finland. According to the Finnish Government, the national and EU rules on corporate sustainability will complement each other. After all, the aim of both legislative proposals is clear, that is to have more effective protection of environment and human rights and to get more companies involved in sustainable development goals.

Ecobio’s sustainability tools for top management

Are you wondering how you should prepare to meet the obligations? Our sustainability experts can help you guide your organization towards sustainable development. We have the expertise to lead organizations towards their goals ranging from alternative strategies to practice management and reporting. You can find  more information about our sustainability tools for top management here.

If you wish to speak to a consultant, please contact Henrik Österlund:

Henrik Österlund Ecobio Oy


Henrik Österlund

email: henrik.osterlund@ecobio.fi

phone: +358 (0)20 756 9457


To read more about Ecobio Manager EU-Taxonomy services, please click here.

Written by: Terhi Valtonen, Senior Consultant, Ecobio

Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions

Biodiversity, honey bee. Nature-based solutions NbS

At the end of July, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published a global standard for the use of nature-based solutions (NbS) to address global environmental challenges. The standard helps governments, businesses, and societies to assess the effectiveness of nature-based solutions and make the most of them to manage societal challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and food security.

As countries all over the world strives to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and move towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is crucial to ensure that future investments in nature reach their potential. To help businesses and societies address this challenge, the first-ever IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions was launched to guide the institutions through NbS applications and set benchmarks for their progress.

What is Nature-based solutions and why is a standard needed?

Nature-based solutions (NbS) are actions that seek to address social challenges through the protection, restoration, and sustainable use of natural or modified ecosystems, and thereby improving the well-being of both biodiversity and people. Examples of NbS are reforestation, beach protection and green infrastructure. These all benefits both the nature and people.

There is a need for a standard to guide this kind of activities because not all solutions called nature-based are in themselves a guarantee that they take into account the well-being of both society and nature. Because of the lack of knowledge, many activities may unintentionally harm the biodiversity. The working group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) therefore wanted to develop a scientifically valid criteria that would be suitable for a wide range of situations, regions and social systems, so that both people and nature would benefit in the long term. Such a framework is essential to increase the scale and impact of Nature-based Solutions, to prevent negative outcomes or misuse, and help funding agencies, policy makers and other stakeholders assess the effectiveness of interventions, and direct investments in the right direction.

How does the standard work?

The Global Standard for NbS is a self-assessment tool consisting of eight criteria and related indicators, addressing all three pillars of sustainable development: biodiversity, economy, and society. The criteria also take into account sustainable project planning and management. The requirements of the standard allow the user to assess the scope and economic, environmental, and social impact of their own activities and then compare it with international agreements and objectives. At the same time, the transparency of operations is improving and operations can be continuously improved.

The standard contains indicative instructions and advice on how the user can evaluate and develop his or her own nature-based solutions and, on the other hand, see which practices still need to be improved. The standard evaluation matrix provides the user with information on how many percent of the user’s activities meet the criteria. The information is presented in color codes reminiscent of a traffic light system, from which the user can easily see which actions still need to be developed. IUCN, who monitors the standard, reviews the aspects and requirements of the standard every four years, so that their suitability for companies and actors in various fields can be improved.

Companies and other actors using the framework will be able to design effective and ambitious sustainability-based NbS, that facilitate discussion with stakeholders and, on the other hand, spark new ideas and innovations.

Need help?

Ecobio’s environmental experts help your company achieve the goals of sustainable development!

Contact us: info@ecobio.fi

Text: Mai Kärppä & Caisa Lindblom, Ecobio oy

Picture: Shutterstock




How to measure environmental performance of port operations? 

EPD port services

Did you know that an environmental product declaration (EPD) can be prepared for port operation services? The EPD International (www.environdec.com), a Swedish-based international programme operator, has defined the product category rules for port operation services already in 2018. The first EPD based on these rules has been published by the port of Bilbao. See the EPD for Port of Bilbao here. 

What is an EPD?

The EPD is used for presenting the potential environmental impacts of products or services based on a life cycle assessment. In order to produce comparable declarations, product category rules have been defined for some products, product groups or services. These rules help you produce more comparable EPDs. This way the environmental impacts of different products can be compared. 

Furthermore, the EPD helps you identify the greatest environmental impacts. Once it is known what causes the environmental impacts, it is more efficient to address the actions for reducing the environmental impacts. The EPD is thus one way of showing the level of environmental management. 

The EPD of Bilbao Port operation services has attracted the interest among its visitors, media and other ports. Ecobio encourages other ports to evaluate the environmental impacts of their operations. 

Ecobio’s environmental services

Ecobio’s environmental experts produce EPDs for ports, construction products and other necessary activities. The environmental performance of port operations can also be demonstrated by other means than by an EPD. For example by carbon footprint calculation and compensation, meeting requirements of standards or with the help of environmental strategies. We will help you find the right solutions. Contact us!

Contact details:


Merry Christmas & Long live the Baltic Sea!

Merry Christmas!

Dear partner, we want to thank you for the past year and wish you a peaceful Christmas season and a successful upcoming year of 2020!

This year we have chosen to donate our Christmas gift to the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG), which is actively working to improve the state of the Baltic Sea and its biodiversity. The Baltic Sea is important both for the species involved in its unique ecosystem and the countries surrounding it. These countries are Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Russia, which are countries where also most of our customers are located at the moment. Due to the special hydrographical and climatic conditions, the Baltic Sea is especially vulnerable to changes and the natural environment of the Baltic Sea has degraded dramatically in the past years. By supporting BSAG  we are able to give life to the Baltic Sea as a Christmas present. You can read more about BSAG and their Baltic Sea projects here.

Have a great Christmas season!

Best wishes, Ecobio team


Read more news here

Questions? Do not hesitate to contact us at info@ecobio.fi

Ecological compensation – a way to strengthen biodiversity

biodiversiteetti suomalinen kuoriainen hyönteinen

The Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE, has published a Policy Brief on ecological compensation (20.11.2019). According to the policy brief ecological compensation can help companies protect biodiversity. With the help of compensation, companies compensate human damage to nature by increasing the biodiversity. (SYKE 2019)

Ecological compensation

Ecological compensation means that local damage inflicted by humans on nature is offset by enhancing natural diversity elsewhere. Compensation can be done through restoring, managing, or protecting habitats. Compensation is a tool where harm cannot be avoided or alleviated on the spot. Examples of ways to compensate are the restoration of traditional agricultural environments, the restoration of drained marshes or the increase of decay woods in forests. The compensation payer is the operator who caused the damage, for example a company, municipality or the state. The method, amount and price of ecological compensation must be based on the threat to the habitat, its rarity and the means of restoration. Compensation should also, where possible, mitigate climate change. (SYKE 2019)

The actors of the compensation procedure consist of public authorities, intermediaries, companies, landowners and citizens. Below you can see the roles of the different actors.

biodiversity actors ecological compensation
SYKE 2019

Compensation is intended to encourage companies to proactively protect biodiversity, as compensation is a cost to businesses. Interest in ecological compensation has increased especially among companies whose operations alter the use of land and which need environmental permits to operate. (SYKE 2019)


Biodiversity or in other words, the abundance of wildlife (from animals to plants), is declining at an alarming rate. Already one in nine species is endangered in Finland. The main reason for the endangering is the loss of habitats and the quality of them. (Ministry of the Environment 2019, SYKE 2019) Biodiversity must be protected and maintained in order to safeguard life on Earth. Many species are vital to functioning ecosystems.

Ecobios experts – pioneers within biodiversity

Our biodiversity experts, Henrik Österlund and Inka Voutilainen, are currently one of the few biodiversity experts in Finland who can assist your company with biodiversity loss, company specific impact assessment and ecological compensation.

Do you have any questions? Do not hesitate to contact us at info@ecobio.fi

Caisa Lindblom

How to REACH the registration deadline by May 31st?

The REACH registration deadline is getting closer. Only a few weeks to go! ECHA has already received close to 22 000 registration dossiers. The most registrations have been filed from Germany, the United Kingdom and France. Here are a few tips for you regarding the approaching deadline:

Are you the lead registrant in a joint registration?

  • You should create a joint submission in REACH-IT by 9th May at the latest.
  • Continuously communicate your progress to the other members of the SIEF. They will have to meet the registration deadline and will want to know when they will be able to submit their company specific dossier.
  • Make sure that you have a transparent break-down of the costs for your Letter of Access (LoA) available in case the other SIEF members want to see it.

Are you a member in a joint registration?

  • You should submit your company specific dossier by the registration deadline.
  • Make sure that you initiate the process for purchasing the LoA early enough. Typically, you will receive a token for the LoA after all the transactions have been made.
  • Know what you pay for! Make sure you know what is included in your SIEF agreement (i.e. is the CSR part of the joint submission or not).

Are you a downstream user?

  • Ask your supplier for a REACH compliance declaration.
  • Make sure that all the substances you purchase have a proper registration number after the deadline.
  • A pre-registration number is not a proper registration number. All the registration numbers are recorded in ECHA’s substance information database. You can find them in the substance specific dossiers.
  • Know your obligations as a downstream user. Even though you don’t have to register, REACH still applies to you.


Contact Ecobio’s experts with any questions related to chemical legislation and the REACH Regulation. We are always happy to help.

For advice or for more information, you can contact us at info@ecobio.fi or tel. +358 20 756 9450.

Ecobio Manager – Regulation Tracking and Chemical Management Service