The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has become the first worldwide not-for-profit business organization to be granted official membership status by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – the world’s oldest and largest environmental organization.

IUCN’s governing council approved the WBCSD’s membership, without objections, late last week at IUCN’sheadquarters in Gland, Switzerland. Building on the WBCSD and IUCN’s solid history of partnership since 1997, including a Memorandum of Understanding in place since 2005, the WBCSD will now have a stronger voice and voting rights at the IUCN World Conservation Congress.

With increased recognition around the value of nature and the importance of collaboration in order to scale up sustainable business solutions,the WBCSD applied to become part of IUCN’s membership earlier this year. The WBCSD’s application included strong endorsements from prominent global organizations, including The World Resources Institute and The Nature Conservancy.

“We are very pleased to include this influential organization representing the progressive business community in our broad membership. Business is an important actor in our society and we have received the full support of our Council to further engage with businesses that are willing to challenge the status quo and contribute to a just world that values and conserves nature,” said Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General.

The WBCSD brings 15 years of experience working on ecosystem issues from a private-sector perspective to IUCN. This experience is also informing the work of the WBCSD’s groundbreaking new Action2020plan. Based on science, Action2020 is setting the agenda for business action on sustainable development to address the most urgent needs of people and the environment. Several of Action2020’s priority areas and business solutions address a range of global environmental issues, including climate change, food security, nutrient elements, ecosystems and water.

“For the first time, a global organization representing business has an official voice at IUCN. We are delighted to represent that voice and look forward to engaging actively and scaling up solutions. The world’s largest conservation organization now includes the world’s most forward-thinking business organizationin its membership. That represents serious and powerful opportunities to scale-up solutions based on true collaboration and expertise on matters related to natural capital,” said WBCSDPresident Peter Bakker.

Through its membershipwith IUCN, the WBCSD will seek to share knowledge, to network and establish partnerships, to influence environmental policy and scale-up sustainable business solutions by deepening engagement with IUCN’s network of scientists, governments, NGOs and other groups.