Business and Biodiversity


Biodiversity Technical Assistance Units

Pilot projects for Biodiversity Technical Assistance Units (BTAUs) in Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland

Biodiversity business opportunities exist across a range of sectors from specific agricultural practices to ecotourism or sustainable forestry. Companies that make use of natural resources are mostly micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Markets can work for biodiversity and sustainable use of resources and, if properly managed by public policy, remain a good mechanism for managing scarce resources and improving livelihoods. The challenge of long-term biodiversity conservation is one that would benefit from the active involvement of the business and banking community.

The project aimed to create instruments in selected countries (Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland) that apply a public-private partnership approach in exploring business opportunities for safeguarding biodiversity. These instruments - ‘Biodiversity Technical Assistance Units’ - worked to achieve two main aims:

  • to facilitate the creation of a new pro-biodiversity investment market for the business and banking sector;
  • to deliver a pipeline of bankable projects for future investment loans for the benefit of biodiversity.

One of the primary tasks of the BTAU units was to accumulate information about pro-biodiversity businesses (PBBs) eligible for funding, thus creating a project pipeline that is attractive for banks/financiers. By the end of 2008 the project pipelines in the three countries were in an advanced stage of preparation and pilot projects for the implementation of first-stage investments had been selected in each country. The parallel task was to identify opportunities for delivering biodiversity investments. From the start of the project, discussions were held with major European banks, such as EBRD and EIB, in order to clarify their readiness and commitment to deliver specific biodiversity investment facilities.

As part of the preparation of financial instruments, during 2008 ECNC facilitated information and access to financial institutions and grant resources. In addition, ECNC participated in a workshop on financial instruments held on 16 July 2008 in Budapest, Hungary, and prepared and held a workshop on ‘Branding and clustering of pro-biodiversity business opportunities’ held in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2009.

Time frame
The BTAU pilot project started in February 2007 and ran until the beginning of 2010.


RSPB - Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK; project leader)
BSPB - Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds
MME - Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Association
OTOP - Polish Society for the Protection of Birds


The project was funded by the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission.

The project:

  • established dedicated Units in three countries to support the development of pro-biodiversity businesses;
  • prepared a pipeline of bankable biodiversity-related projects;
  • developed a toolkit and operational guidelines for assessing pro-biodiversity businesses and supporting biodiversity investment project concepts;
  • developed a handbook for identifying, developing and implementing pro-biodiversity projects;
  • created an operational communication platform - dedicated website, brochures, training seminar on branding.

For more information about the project visit the BTAU project website: