BBOP Newsletter
BBOP: Business and Biodiversity Offset Program
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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 An accompanying set of draft Guidance Notes for auditors has also been developed.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 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.

  1. The closing date for your feedback on the PCI and Guidance Notes is 15 July, 2011.
  2. 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

If you are interested in attending this training, please contact Patrick Maguire at

Biodiversity offsets in the UKs 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:

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 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)