Biodiversity refers to the variety of life forms on Earth, which is measured at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels. Species diversity includes different types of animals, plants and microbes. To a much broader extent, biodiversity also includes different types of ecosystems, such as mudflats, streams, mangroves, forests and coral reefs, together with the species living there and the interactions among them. It is important to human beings as we depend on the availability of biological resources for provision of food, medicine, timber, cotton and other raw materials to sustain our basic living requirements. Apart from providing these essential resources that we rely on every day, the ecosystem also accounts for the provision of regulating services for the planet such as climate regulation, disease control, protection against floods and cultural services that complement human values. These ecosystem services are vital to human well-being and hence should be sustainably consumed and managed.

Biodiversity is often taken for granted, however, unsustainable consumption by human beings are placing increasing pressure to the existence of species and ecosystems. This includes overfishing and over-exploitation of biological resources, overuse of forest and land, destruction and fragmentation of habitats and contamination that cause irreversible damage to species. Therefore, the loss of biodiversity is dangerous and the next generation will be suffering from its immediate consequences, for instance, food security and water shortage problems may arise.

Consumers are responsible for stopping the loss and should be careful during consumption, especially when choosing agricultural, forestry and fisheries-related products. Biodiversity-friendly productscan prevent the loss of habitats during raw materials extraction and encourage the protection of ecosystems and species diversity. The most commonly found product labels addressing biodiversity concerns are those certified for sustainable forestry, sustainable fishing and farming practices.


Sustainable Features of Biodiversity-friendly Products

Sustainable Forest Management

Forests serve as homes for various types of living things and also helps to stabilise the climate by regulating carbon and water cycles. Therefore, forest damage will directly cause negative impacts on the ecosystem and climate change. Sustainable Forest Management means that a forest is managed in a sustainable way and protected from over-harvest, trees have to be replanted in order to maintain a balance between the demand for the forest’s natural resources and the vitality of the forest.

Sustainable Fisheries

Most of the fish products we obtain today are sourced from fishing and aquaculture practices. The sustainability of capture fisheries depends on sound fishery management that helps to maintain a healthy and productive marine ecosystem. Sustainable fisheries can ensure fish stock to be harvested at a sustainable rate through implementing fishing practices, fisheries and seafood businesses that do not cause a decline of fish population over time if they target to maintain an ecological balance. The stock structure of fish populations can be maintained by preventing over-fishing through several approaches, such as limiting fishing seasons and enforcing strict fishing area control. Sustainable fishing practices such as changes in fishing gear may also help to reduce bycatch and minimise interactions with sea mammals and birds. Apart from fishing practice, sustainable operation mode of fish farms is another solution to prevent over-exploitation of fisheries. This can guarantee the natural environment, water resources and biodiversity to be well-preserved and also encourage the responsible use of animal feed and other resources. To save endangered seafood species, some green groups promote the concept of sustainable seafood, where endangered seafood species are identified and recommended the general public not to or less consume those identified endangered seafood species.

Sustainable Farming Practice (e.g. Organic Farming)

Decades of continuous usage of chemical fertilisers and pesticides reduce soil fertility and cause underground water contamination. Chemical fertilisers’ and pesticides’ impacts on health of human beings are controversial. To maintain a sustainable agricultural system, organic farming methods have been promoting, by avoiding or largely excluding the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, genetically-modified seeds and other synthetic chemical to avoid the damage to the ecosystem.