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.
Announcing a public consultation on the draft Criteria, Indicators and Guidance Notes to accompany the BBOP Principles
From its outset, BBOP has worked to develop, test and disseminate best practice on biodiversity offsets so that it becomes a widely recognized and applied tool. Over the past 5 – 10 years biodiversity offsets have gone from a relatively unknown and experimental approach to a growing body of knowledge and experience, although often still applied in an ad hoc manner, and without an agreed framework to measure success. An important area of work for BBOP therefore has been the development of an assurance mechanism that will enable developers and their stakeholders to judge the quality of offset design and implementation.
BBOP is developing a draft standard for biodiversity offsets, to be agreed internationally among BBOP members and improved iteratively based on feedback and trialing by the wider community working on biodiversity offsets. BBOP Advisory Group members have developed a set of draft Criteria and Indicators that support the previously established Principles. The resulting Principles, Criteria and Indicators (PCI) framework serves as a tool to determine whether an offset has been designed and subsequently implemented in accordance with the BBOP Principles. An accompanying set of draft Guidance Notes for auditors has also been developed.
BBOP has begun a public consultation process on the PCI framework and associated material. We invite BBOP Learning Network members to visit www.bbopconsultation.org to download the draft PCI, Guidance Notes, and technical Resource Papers on issues surrounding Principle 1 (No Net Loss) and Principle 4 (Limits to what can be offset), log on to the site and provide feedback to an on-line questionnaire.
- The closing date for your feedback on the PCI and Guidance Notes is 15 July, 2011.
- The closing date for your feedback on the two Resource Papers is 29 July, 2011.
We would appreciate your input to help shape a draft standard on biodiversity offsets, which we expect to release in early 2012.
BBOP will hold a one day training on the PCI framework and its applications for interested companies and auditors after our annual meeting in Washington DC in late Oct 2011
Biodiversity offsets in the UK’s Natural Environment White Paper
The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) – a new BBOP Advisory Group member – has recently released its Natural Environment White Paper outlining the Government’s vision for the natural environment over the next 50 years. As noted in the previous BBOP newsletter, Defra undertook a consultation on how offsets could be implemented in England. The report answers that question in part by calling for "an ambitious, integrated approach, creating a resilient ecological network across England. We will move from net biodiversity loss to net gain, by supporting healthy, well-functioning ecosystems and coherent ecological networks." The report also calls for the establishment of a new, voluntary approach to biodiversity offsets and testing that approach in pilot areas.
The IFC Performance Standard Revision
The IFC Performance Standard revision process officially closed on 12 May, with the IFC's Board of Directors approval of the updated Sustainability Framework, the culmination of a comprehensive two-and-a-half year review and an 18-month consultation process. The IFC will disclose the updated Sustainability Framework, including the revised Performance Standard 6 on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources (PS6) on August 1, 2011, with an effective date of January 1, 2012.
Although not yet officially released, the revised PS6 includes requirements for biodiversity offsets that are much more specific than the previous version. No Net Loss is required for natural habitat and Net Gain for critical habitat. PS6 borrows significantly from the BBOP definition of biodiversity offsets, as well as from BBOP principles and approaches. The associated PS6 Guidance Notes will also be released in the public domain in the coming months. For more details, please see the IFC press release
European Union Biodiversity Strategy to 2020
On 3 May, the European Commission adopted the new EU biodiversity strategy, endorsed by the European Council on 21 June. The strategy - the result of intensive work by DG Environment and coordination with other DGs - is a response to a dual mandate.
The first mandate is at the EU level. In March 2010, EU Heads of State adopted new target:
'Halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss.'
This marks a shift from the earlier EU commitment as it focuses on ecosystem services as well as biodiversity and refers to (positive) restoration, not just halting loss. It also goes beyond traditional conservation actions to embrace biodiversity outside protected areas.
The second mandate was Council Conclusions prepared in October 2010 for COP10, and the resulting COP10 decisions.
The strategy emphasizes the need to increase the funding from the private sector, and includes some proposals for achieving this. For instance, the Commission has announced an initiative on biodiversity offsets, and more specifically, an initiative on No Net Loss for the EU for 2015. The Commission is starting to explore what this could mean, ranging from proposing guidelines to coordinate best practice in Member States to a possible proposal for a mandatory requirement on offsets, including biodiversity banking.
On 21 June, the European Council endorsed the strategy and emphasized "the importance of further work to operationalise the 'no net loss' objective of the Strategy for areas and species not covered by existing EU nature legislation and of ensuring no further loss or degradation of ecosystems and their services".
2011 Update of the State of Biodiversity Markets report released
The Ecosytem Marketplace has released the 2011 Update of the State of Biodiversity Markets report. This report is a companion paper to the initial report (State of Biodiversity Markets) that highlights major developments in biodiversity offsets and compensation mechanisms over the past year, summarizing new activity in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The report finds that global interest in biodiversity offsets and compensation has continued to develop over the past year – somewhat surprisingly, given the financial challenges that plague the private and public sectors alike. While there has not been dramatic growth, there has been steady activity. In the past year alone, biodiversity offsets and compensation mechanisms worldwide totaled an estimated US$3 billion – seven times the size of the global voluntary carbon.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – Vegetation Survey Course
Since 2007 RBG Kew has run an annual two-week course on vegetation survey. Aimed at practicing botanists, ecologists and conservationists, as well as land managers in the commercial sector, it is designed to provide a basic grounding in techniques for use in land and natural resource planning and conservation. During the course the scientific skills of Kew staff are brought together with the practical requirements of managers in the mining sector and other extractive industries. The emphasis is on practical application for conservation or environmental decision-making, utilizing internationally acceptable quantitative approaches. The course builds on Kew's extensive experience in botany around the world, and in carrying out vegetation survey for the mining sector. Initially established with support from Rio Tinto, it is now becoming self-supporting.
Following a series of introductory lectures covering the background to vegetation survey from local to global levels, introduction to basic tools in GIS, remote sensing, soil science, ecological processes and the use of local knowledge in surveys, basic field techniques are practiced in Kew Gardens. Interspersed with the lectures, Kew staff members present brief case studies of vegetation surveys they have carried out, showing different practical applications. This is followed by a 3-day field project based around different land management scenarios, working in small groups on the heathlands of the Ashdown Forest in West Sussex. The field projects are written up by the groups, presented and assessed.
The course costs £1499 for the two weeks, covering all teaching materials, field trips and accommodation during field work. It does not cover travel to Kew, or accommodation during the remainder of the course.
More information on the course is available here: www.kew.org/ucm/groups/public/documents/document/kppcont_035997.pdf
News from IUCN
The Global Business & Biodiversity Programme team at IUCN has released its 2010 Annual Report. The report covers business engagement at CBD COP10, new IUCN partnerships with Rio Tinto and Nespresso, and reviews existing partnerships with Shell and Holcim. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
IUCN has also issued a call for contributions for the 2012 World Conservation Congress (Jeju, South Korea-September 2012). The deadline for submissions is 15 October 2011. An information paper is available.
CBD Business Newsletter – COP10
The Convention on Biological Diversity’s newsletter on biodiversity issues relevant to the business sector, " Business.2020", has posted its June 2011 edition, which focuses on COP10. In addition to numerous articles from innovative companies and initiatives that contributed to COP10, BBOP’s Director Kerry ten Kate contributed an article on how biodiversity offsets can contribute to 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Target 5 (to halve, and where feasible bring close to zero, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, and to significantly reduce degradation and fragmentation) and how BBOP stands ready to help.
- The BBOP Secretariat Team
(Kerry ten Kate, Patrick Maguire, Amrei von Hase, Ray Victurine, Sebastian Winkler)