The Business and Biodiversity Offset Program (BBOP) is a partnership between companies, financial institutions, governments and conservation experts to explore biodiversity offsets. Forest Trends and Wildlife Conservation Society provide the Secretariat for BBOP.
BBOP envisages a future in which the mitigation hierarchy is rigorously applied worldwide to a high standard by governments and the private sector for projects in all sectors, emphasizing avoidance and minimization, to achieve no net loss and preferably a net gain of biodiversity.
Dear BBOP Learning Network,
Policy developments are the central theme of our first newsletter in 2011. At the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya in October we observed an increasing interest and recognition of biodiversity offsets and the concepts of “no net loss” and “net positive impact”. For more information on the implications for BBOP and biodiversity offsets stemming from the COP10 Decisions, read on. As the world’s governments agreed that they have failed to meet their goal of substantially reducing the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010, the UN General Assembly is extending the Year of Biodiversity to the Decade of Biodiversity (2011 – 2020). We hope biodiversity offsets will achieve significant conservation outcomes over this period, and thus make their proper contribution towards the Aichi 2020 targets
In this edition we also provide details on the International Finance Corporation’s process to revise its influential Sustainability Policy and Performance Standards. Particularly relevant for biodiversity offsets are the proposed changes to Performance Standard 6 which deals with Biodiversity Conservation and the Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources. We believe the draft revised text marks a significant policy development that will promote the uptake of biodiversity offsets, requiring more rigor in the application of the mitigation hierarchy and offering more clarity on the qualities needed to ensure biodiversity offsets are successful and used when appropriate.
Closer to home on the policy front, BBOP is pleased to announce the establishment of country partnerships with five national governments: Ghana, Mongolia, Namibia, Uganda, and Vietnam as well as with the state of Sabah, Malaysia. This work will benefit from a growing BBOP Advisory Group which has added 34 new companies, financial institutions, government agencies and civil society groups to its members in 2010.
We hope you find the recent news, publications, and meetings highlighted in this edition of the BBOP Newsletter useful and relevant to your work. Please send us articles, information and ideas to cover in our next edition, and feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and feedback. We always enjoy hearing from you.
BBOP Announces Country Partnerships
During 2010, BBOP concluded an assessment process to identify and select a small number government partners interested in developing or improving their biodiversity offset policies with assistance from BBOP. Selection criteria were developed by the BBOP Policy Working Group, and approved by the BBOP Executive Committee. Six governments were identified and have requested BBOP assistance to develop biodiversity policy options. These include five national governments: Ghana, Mongolia, Namibia, Uganda, and Vietnam and the state of Sabah (Malaysia).
Over the coming years, BBOP aims to offer technical support to these governments that have requested our assistance to help them explore options for policies on biodiversity offsets, to gain experience from pilot projects and to build their capacity. Based on workplans developed with these governments, we are seeking donor support so that the government partners and BBOP can undertake this work.
New BBOP Secretariat Staff
Dr. Jan Cassin joined BBOP in October 2010 and serves as the Pilot Project and Policy Coordinator. Jan will lead the country partnership work for the Secretariat and share the work developing new pilot activities. Jan is an ecologist with expertise in restoration ecology, conservation biology, and habitat restoration planning in terrestrial, marine, and freshwater systems. Before joining BBOP, Jan was senior project manager at Parametrix. As a member of the Leadership Team for Parametrix’ Ecosystem Marketplace group, Jan focused on ecosystem service science and developing ecosystem service solutions for conservation and sustainability. Before joining Parametrix in 1999, Jan worked as a biologist for The Nature Conservancy for nine years, then obtained her Doctorate at the University of Michigan. Jan’s dissertation research focused on plant-animal interactions, conditionality in mutualisms, and the role of biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems. Her recent work with Parametrix includes an emphasis on watershed characterization, functional and process assessments for freshwater and nearshore systems, restoration design, alternative mitigation strategies, conservation planning, and application of market mechanisms to conservation and restoration.
BBOP adds 34 Advisory Group members in 2010
BBOP continues to expand its membership, adding 34 new companies, financial institutions, government agencies and civil society groups to its Advisory Group in 2010. The latest members include returning member Newmont Mining Corporation, based in Denver, Colorado and Newcrest Mining Limited, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. Newmont has an increasing focus on ecosystem service impacts. Its Akyem site in Ghana was one of BBOP’s initial pilot projects during phase 1. Newcrest is the largest gold company in Asia and the fifth largest gold company in the world since merging with LGL Gold in 2010.
Other members that have joined in the past year are:
Companies whose business can involve a footprint on biodiversity:
- AngloGold Ashanti
- Inmet Mining
- New Britain Palm Oil Ltd.
- Tahi Resort
- Winstone Aggregates
- CDC Biodiversité, France
- Inter-American Development Bank
- Global Environment Fund
- Mizuho Corporate Bank
- Biodiversity Works
- Golder Associates
- Hogan Lovells
- New Forests
- Nollen Group
- SLR Consulting
- Wildlands Inc.
Conservation and Civil Society Groups
- Nature Conservation Resource Center, Ghana
- Rainforest Alliance
Governments and Intergovernmental Organizations
- Forestry Commission, Government of Ghana
- Forestry Department, Sabah, Malaysia
- Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam Directorate of Forestry
- Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Government of Namibia
- Ministry of Mines and Energy, Government of Namibia
- Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE), government of Vietnam
- Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism, government of Mongolia
- National Environment Management Authority, Uganda
BBOP Advisory Group members are committed to exploring best practice on biodiversity offsets and support the BBOP Biodiversity Offset Principles. For a full list of BBOP’s Advisory Group membership and to learn more about the benefits and obligations of membership, see: http://bbop.forest-trends.org/committee.php
News Stories and Publications
IFC Performance Standard Revision
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is currently inviting comments on the second revision of its Sustainability policy and performance standards. Particularly relevant for biodiversity offsets are the proposed changes to Performance Standard 6 which deals with Biodiversity Conservation and the Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources. BBOP, through a consolidated submission from Advisory Group members and the Secretariat, has provided extensive comments to earlier phases of the revision process. In this third IFC consultation phase, the BBOP Secretariat again plans to prepare and submit comments, principally on Performance Standard 6. Comments for the current phase are due to the IFC by the end of February. The documents are available at: http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/policyreview.nsf.
BBOP welcomes the current revision of the Performance Standards and believes that the revisions represent an improvement in guidance to IFC’s clients. In many cases, the IFC’s language on biodiversity offsets integrates and borrows from the BBOP guidelines and principles. The new prominence on biodiversity offsets within IFC Performance Standard 6 underscores biodiversity’s increasing importance in international policy.
The final submission by the BBOP Secretariat and some Advisory Group members, will be posted by 28 February at: URL http://bbop.forest-trends.org/activities/policy/IFC-PS_revision-Feb-2011.pdf
Biodiversity Offset Policy in the United Kingdom
The UK Government has been exploring policy options for biodiversity offsets for the past several years. In 2008, The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) commissioned a scoping study for the design and use of biodiversity offsets in an English context, to which BBOP members contributed. In January 2011, Defra initiated a consultation process requesting suggestions for how offsets could be implemented in the UK, complying with the existing elaborate policy framework, but otherwise voluntarily. For more information on this consultation process, see: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/biodiversity/offsetting/index.htm
The submission made by the BBOP Secretariat and Executive Committee on this consultation document can be found at: http://bbop.forest-trends.org/activities/policy/Defra-comments-Jan-2011.pdf
Birds and Habitats Directive Task Force on Offsets
This paper outlines the position of BirdLife International (a BBOP Advisory Group Member) on the “Birds and Habitats Directive Task Force (BHDTF) on Biodiversity Offsets in the European Union”. The BirdLife partnership is currently working towards a global level position on biodiversity offsets and this BHDTF position will be kept under review in light of the global level work; and in light of developments in the currently rapidly evolving area of biodiversity offsets.
The description of biodiversity offsets in the position paper complements language within BBOP’s definition of biodiversity offsets. BirdLife advocates a no net loss policy which requires damage to be offset on a like-for-like basis. The authors list key principles to be incorporated into a European offsets system including additionality, adherence to the mitigation hierarchy, the need for offsets to be in place before damage, and the need for clear and transparent quality assurance to monitor residual impacts. To read the full document, click here.
Australia NSW BioBanking program credibility questioned
BioBanking, the Australian biodiversity banking program that went live late in 2009 in the state of New South Wales, has apparently received a blow to its credibility due to an administrative error. A development project had been approved with too few BioBanking credits used to offset damage from the development. "Apparently lost for some months in a cardboard box," a report has now come to light that concludes that the proposed supply of BioBanking credits was insufficient to offset the damage of the proposed development. The report, conducted by EcoLogical Australia, notes: "The 644.4 hectares of clearing requires 37,010 credits, while the 887.0 hectares of biobank site being supplied by the developer generates 9607 credits. This results in a shortfall of 27,403 credits. The results show that between 2614.5 to 4107 hectares of additional offset is required to satisfy the offset required by the biobanking assessment.” Read more at: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/biobank-report-lost-in-cardboard-box-20101214-18wwi.html
The Meta-Site of Biodiversity Priority Area Data
UNEP-WCMC has launched a new website on important biodiversity conservation areas, called the A-Z Areas of Biodiversity Importance http://www.biodiversitya-z.org/. The site provides clear information on more than 30 different global classifications of areas of importance for biodiversity conservation such as World Heritage sites, Biodiversity Hotspots, Ramsar sites, and IUCN Category IV areas. Read a Press Release about the A-Z Areas of Biodiversity Importance http://www.business-biodiversity.eu/default.asp?Menue=49&News=270
Official Launch of IPBES
The UN has officially launched the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The initiative aims to strengthen the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and will function in a manner similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPBES will "assess evidence on the causes and effects of nature degradation, and policy options." This mechanism, recognized by the scientific and policy communities will compile and analyze information for decision making in a range of policy fora. For more information see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12053414
Report questions REDD benefits for biodiversity in Indonesia.
Research lead by Gary Paoli of Daemeter Consulting in Indonesia has found that projects for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which have the potential to preserve biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions, are likely to give preference to peat swamp forests that are relatively high in carbon stocks, but low in biodiversity compared to other lowland forests. Although peat swamp forests are home to high-profile species such as orangutans and tigers, other types of lowland forests are home to greater numbers of threatened but relatively uncharismatic plants, mammals and birds. To avoid REDD diverting conservation funds away from endangered species and landscapes, the author recommends governments set specific ecosystem and biodiversity conservation targets for all native ecosystem types. Read more here: http://news.mongabay.com/2010/1129-paoli_carbon_peat.html
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Executive Summary for Business
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is a global study which makes the case for integrating the economics of biodiversity and ecosystem services in decision-making. The Executive Summary and preliminary draft chapters are now available at: http://www.teebweb.org/ForBusiness/tabid/1021/Default.aspx The report reviews key indicators and drivers of biodiversity loss and ecosystem decline and shows how these present both risks and opportunities to business. The changing preferences of consumers for nature-friendly products and services are examined, and examples of how companies are responding are cited. The full report will be published in 2011.
The Global Biodiversity Outlook 3rd Edition
The Global Biodiversity Outlook is a flagship publication of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Drawing on a range of information sources, including National Reports, biodiversity indicators information, scientific literature, and a study assessing biodiversity scenarios for the future, the third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) summarizes the latest data on status and trends of biodiversity and draws conclusions for the future strategy of the Convention.
GBO-3 shows that efforts to date have not been sufficient to reduce significantly the rate of biodiversity loss and analyses why; it assesses the potential for long-lasting or irreversible ecosystem changes to result from current trends and practices; and it concludes that concerted and targeted responses, with action applied at appropriate levels to address both direct pressures on biodiversity and their underlying causes, can in the long term stop or even reverse the continued decline in the variety of life on Earth.
Consult the GBO-3 homepage for a link to the full report and its background documents: http://gbo3.cbd.int/home.aspx
Meetings and Events
Mongolia workshop to assess a landscape level approach to biodiversity offsets in the South Gobi,
mid March 2011
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – through its Shareholder Special Fund - is supporting a two-day workshop in mid March 2011, to be run by BBOP in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The primary purpose of the workshop is to support the Government of Mongolia, companies involved in mineral/energy development in the South Gobi, and other stakeholders in their desire to use biodiversity offsets within a regional planning framework. The aim of the workshop is to bring together the relevant stakeholders, including local communities’ representatives, and allow participants to share information and agree to collaborate in the future. The organisers hope that the workshop will be the first step towards developing a shared work-plan describing participants’ roles in an ecoregional plan for the South Gobi, covering biodiversity and planned development; identifying priority areas for development and for conservation; and working with companies and major projects to assess and manage biodiversity impacts according to the mitigation hierarchy. With such a shared vision, it may be possible to ‘aggregate’ offsets so that additional conservation efforts can be clustered and focused in the areas where they will make the greatest contribution.
BBOP Eighth Annual Meeting, Paris France,
14 – 17 September 2010
BBOP held the eighth meeting of its Advisory Group from 14 – 17 September in Paris France. Over 80 individuals from the Advisory Group membership and other invited guests participated in discussions on BBOP’s progress over the past year and provided input on strategies and work-plans for the remainder of BBOP Phase 2 (through July 2012).
The meetings on Tuesday 14 September focused on the Assurance and Guidelines Working Groups. An introductory session for newcomers to BBOP was also held on the opening day. Sessions on 15 September were structured around the five working groups (Pilots, Policy, Assurance, Guidelines and Capacity Building). After a plenary overview on progress in 2009-2010, participants focused in parallel discussion on key challenges moving forward and strategic planning for each working group. On 16 September, new country partners (Ghana, Mongolia, Namibia, Sabah Malaysia, Uganda, and Vietnam) presented their work plans and current policy frameworks, and in the afternoon participants worked together to identify and reach consensus on emerging issues in biodiversity offsets and BBOP’s Phase 2 implementation. A key conclusion of this discussion was that a revised version of the Assurance Performance/ Criteria/ Indicators framework with supporting Guidance Notes should be produced and made publically available in the first half of 2011.
The Policy Working Group and representatives from the country partnerships met on Friday 17 September to continue discussions and develop their respective work plans. Progress was made with each country on defining next steps, preparing proposals to donors, identifying lead government agencies, potential partners, key milestones and workshop dates.
Convention on Biological Diversity, 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties CBD-COP10
Nagoya, Japan 18 – 29 October 2010
At 3am on the morning of Saturday, 30 October, the 10th Conference of the Parties concluded in Nagoya Japan. After more than 10 days and nights of negotiations, the CBD Parties reached the following major conclusions: a protocol to the Convention on access and benefit-sharing was agreed; a strategic plan for the treaty was completed with targets for 2020 (http://www.cbd.int/decision/cop/?id=12268), and a plan for the mobilization of financial resources for implementation was decided.
The COP10 outcomes had a number of significant implications for BBOP. Of most relevance to BBOP and biodiversity offsets was Decision X/21 on "Business Engagement", which makes various recommendations and requests to the CBD Parties, business and private sector and the CBD Executive Secretary. In particular, this document:
- Invites Parties "to identify a range of options for incorporating biodiversity into business practices that take into account existing developments under various forums, including relevant institutions and non-governmental organizations, such as the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme".
- Encourages businesses and the private sector "to adopt commitments to support the achievement of the three objectives of the Convention, for instance, through the approaches set out in the Jakarta Charter and other initiatives at both national and global levels". (The Jakarta Charter, which states in part: "The concept of no-net-loss of biodiversity and net-positive impact, as articulated by the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme, is a practical framework for assessing efforts to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity".)
- Requests the Executive Secretary "to encourage the development and application of tools and mechanisms that can further facilitate the engagement of businesses in integrating biodiversity concerns into their work, such as, consistent and in harmony with the Convention and other relevant international obligations, certification, verification, the valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, incentive measures, biodiversity offsets, etc".
The final report on the outcomes of COP10 as well as the final text of all Decisions taken by the Conference of the Parties can be found here: http://www.cbd.int/cop10/doc/. The full text of Decision X/21: Business Engagement can be found here: http://www.cbd.int/decision/cop/?id=12287
BBOP also organized a well-attended side event on Wednesday 27 October, with BBOP Advisory Group members Mizuho Corporate Bank, International Union for Conservation of Nature, and Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto’s corporate policy on Net Positive Impact was presented and discussed. Mizuho outlined the inclusion of biodiversity offsets, through BBOP Principles and IFC Performance Standard 6, in project financing. Other BBOP Advisory Group members CDC Biodiversité and ResponsAbility presented their experience with offsets and contributed significantly to discussions.
To support its engagement with the CBD Parties, BBOP submitted an Information Document (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/INF/27) for the COP which presents introductory information on biodiversity offsets and BBOP; and describes how biodiversity offsets and BBOP may help Parties to the CBD. The document is titled: "Biodiversity Offsets: A Tool for CBD Parties to Consider, and a Briefing on the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme" and can be found at: http://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/cop/cop-10/information/cop-10-inf-27-en.pdf
Overall, in addition to the progress in the formal decisions by the Parties described above, we were struck by the increasing interest and recognition of biodiversity offsets and the concepts of "no net loss" and "net positive impact" in formal and informal discussions at COP10. The BBOP Secretariat looks forward to working with the CBD Secretariat, Parties and stakeholders to compile tools to help businesses integrate biodiversity into their decision-making and principles.
- The BBOP Secretariat Team
(Kerry ten Kate, Patrick Maguire, Amrei von Hase, Ray Victurine, Sebastian Winkler)