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.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PUBLICATIONS, INITIATIVES AND TOOLS
CONFERENCES AND EVENTS
Swedish mining company Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB) has joined BBOP. LKAB is a Swedish state owned international minerals group. Its main products consist of magnetite iron ore pellets and sinter fines from its mines in the north of Sweden. LKAB has been operating for 125 years and is active in the full value chain from mining, extraction and processing to marketing of industrial mineral products and drilling solutions.
LKAB is implementing a biodiversity offset for its open pit Mertainen mine, and has as a voluntary commitment aimed at achieving net gain with its compensation area called Kuosajänkkä. Forest Trends has advised on the project on methods and best practices in following the mitigation hierarchy to achieve no net loss drawing from the work of BBOP, and Swedish environmental consultancy Enetjärn Natur AB has also been involved in the project.
Several recent webinars now available on the BBOP site include:
Compensación Equivalente de biodiversidad: conceptos y lineamientos básicos
Several Latin American countries including Colombia, Peru and Chile have begun to incorporate no net loss and biodiversity offsets into their policy frameworks. Most of the literature on the subject however is in English, which can limit wider dissemination of the principles and methodologies among stakeholders in these countries. Claudia Silva, Wildlife Conservation Society – Chile, presented the basic technical concepts of biodiversity compensation and ecological equivalence in Spanish without reference to a particular regulatory framework.
Defra report: Lessons learned from biodiversity offsetting markets
What are the costs and benefits of biodiversity offsetting from the point of view of housing, industrial, infrastructure and other developers and do offsets imply added costs for developers, or is it possible that benefits outweigh costs? These are questions that Defra wanted to examine more closely as it considered options for delivering biodiversity offsets in England. Study authors Guy Duke and Kerry ten Kate presented this webinar which gathered evidence to help answer these questions, based on experience from established offsetting markets in the US and Australia.
Biodiversity offsetting in Sweden: New guidelines and future policy
In Sweden, the interest in biodiversity offsetting has increased greatly in the last few years. Guidelines on ecological compensation have recently been published by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), with the aim of further advancing the application of ecological compensation in Sweden. The guidelines draw upon the BBOP principles on biodiversity offsetting in the interpretation of provisions on compensation in the Swedish Environmental Code. Jörgen Sundin, Policy Implementation and Enforcement specialist from the Legal affairs unit, Biodiversity and Area protection Section, SEPA, presented SEPA´s new guidelines and discussed the current and future role of biodiversity offsetting as a tool to achieve environmental objectives in Sweden.
16 and 17 June Eiffage's biodiversity compensation work for the BPL rail extension in Brittany
Leading French construction company and BBOP Advisory Group member Eiffage will present the biodiversity compensation work underway for the Bretagne-Pays de la Loire high speed rail link which will connect Le Mans and Rennes. Currently one of Europe's largest rail projects, the €3.3 billion investment in the BPL high speed rail link is an extension of the existing rail line between Paris and Connerré and requires the construction of a line of approximately 200 km. The biodiversity offset program involves 245 sites covering 815 ha, and requires ecological maintenance over 20 years. This webinar will be presented on the 16th June (14:00 UTC) in English and the 17th of June (12:00 UTC) in French.
BBOP13 Advisory Group meeting
BBOP will hold the 13th meeting of its Advisory Group at the Zoological Society of London on 3-4 November 2016. Topics of discussion will include progress of products in development, such as: a global survey of policies, initiatives, and projects that are applying the biodiversity mitigation hierarchy; and a corporate roadmap to assist companies achieve No Net Loss. One day of the meeting will include participation of the UK construction industry association CIRIA, as well as CIEEM (the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management) and IEMA (the Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment) and focus on international construction industry concerns. If you represent a construction company and are interested in improving the mitigation of biodiversity impacts and would like to learn more about BBOP and possibly attend this meeting, please contact us at email@example.com.
Publications, Initiatives and Tools
Publications, Initiatives and Tools
COMBO Project launched to promote no net loss of biodiversity in four African countries
The Wildlife Conservation Society, Forest Trends and Biotope have commenced a four-year project (2016-2019) which aims to reconcile economic development in Africa with conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. This project is funded by the Agence Francaise de Développement (AFD), the Fonds Français pour l'Environnement Mondial (FFEM) and the Mava Foundation. It will build capacity to reduce the impacts of development projects on biodiversity. The project will follow BBOP's Principles and the guidance provided by the BBOP Standard, the International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 6, Equator Principles and any other best practice policy and methodologies reviewed and agreed by a range of stakeholders
The COMBO Project (COnservation, impact Mitigation and Biodiversity Offsets in Africa) is being implemented in four countries – Guinea, Madagascar, Mozambique and Uganda. The goal of the project is to contribute to the establishment and implementation of effective mechanisms to avoid, reduce and compensate impacts to biodiversity and ecosystems, in order to achieve "no net loss" or a "net gain" of biodiversity, with the improvements in mitigation, particularly the last step of offsets (or compensation) generating additional funds for conservation activities. The project will do that through five components: a) development of policy and a policy framework by government that will require the use of best practices by developers and investors, b) the development of processes for data sharing and the creation of methodologies such as exchange rules and metrics that can be used to measure attainment of no net loss, c) the establishment of implementation mechanisms to deliver mitigation and biodiversity offsets over the long term, including the formation of legal and financial mechanisms, d) engagement with the private sector to promote best practices and gain lessons from implementation experience, and e) building capacity and increasing knowledge about the implementation of mitigation measures, including biodiversity offsets.
Combo was launched in Antananarivo on 17-18 May, in Conakry on 7-9 June and will be launched in Kampala on 27-28 June. The launch date in Mozambique will be announced soon. Each launch involves workshops with partners and stakeholders to discuss technical priorities for each country as well as a training event. Information on the Project and activities in the four participating countries will be updated regularly on the website: http://combo-africa.org/
IRMA Responsible Mining standard released for consultation
Version 2 of the draft IRMA Responsible Mining standard has been released for consultation, with a deadline of 30 June 2016. The draft standard with means of verification (291pp) is available here. Relevant sections and content include protected areas, chapter 3.7; with mention of no-go areas including World Heritage Sites and other "highly protected areas". Chapter 3.8 "Biodiversity Outside Officially Protected Areas" proposes a framework to implement the mitigation hierarchy, covering issues related to Biodiversity Impact Assessments, Biodiversity Management Plans, Monitoring and Corrective Actions, and Allocation of Resources. The framework is designed to ensure that biodiversity losses are avoided and minimized, wherever possible, and to help mines with demonstrating that they are 'biodiversity neutral or positive' over their whole life.
Defra report: Lessons learned from biodiversity offsetting markets
This study (Duke and ten Kate 2014, published in 2016) was commissioned by Defra to assist with the development of policy on biodiversity offsetting, in particular to support more detailed economic appraisal of the policy options identified in the 2013 Green Paper on Biodiversity Offsetting in England. In particular, Defra wishes to understand costs and benefits to developers arising from various policy options. A uniform (i.e. mandatory) approach was advocated by the private sector Ecosystem Markets Task Force (EMTF 2013), which suggested this would enable the development of a large, liquid market, optimizing both benefits to business and outcomes for nature (Duke et al. 2013). Government, however, expressed in the Green Paper a preference to take a voluntary approach, citing insufficient evidence to demonstrate, with sufficient confidence, that mandatory offsetting would not increase regulatory burden on business in general and on house builders in particular (a key government commitment). This report sought to address the evidence gap by reviewing established offsetting markets in the US and Australia. The terms of reference requested the authors to explore: (1) the range and extent of costs and benefits to developers arising from offsetting regimes, (2) the effects of market design on offset prices, and, to a lesser extent, (3) conservation outcomes of offsetting, and (4) broader economic outcomes of offsetting.
Some of the conclusions of the report include:
- Time-to-permit savings and savings arising from transfer of liability are the major drivers of developer demand for 3rd party offsets. They make 3rd party offsets the most economically advantageous, and therefore preferred option for developers.
- Off-site compensation performs considerably better than on-site. Third party mitigation banking offers ecological advantages of greater aggregation and reduced temporal losses. Anecdotally, the raising of performance standards and consequent costs of mitigation is encouraging developers to move back up the mitigation hierarchy, delivering more avoidance and minimization, and hence improved conservation outcomes.
- Mitigation banking offers economies of scale (by creating aggregated offsets), including reduction of fixed costs by 30-40%.
- In the US, broad economic benefits derive from bringing forward $60 - $102 billion in development projects by an average of 5 months. A US study suggests that every $1 spent on mitigation delivers between 7 and 40 jobs, many in rural areas.
World Bank's Forest Action Plan FY16-20 highlights the potential of aggregated offsets.
The World Bank Group has released its Forest Action Plan FY16-20, which aims to integrate the sustainable management of forests more fully into the Bank's development priorities over the next five years. The Forest Action Plan was developed jointly by the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, and builds on the 2002 Strategy "Sustaining Forests: A Development Strategy." One area of focus is "forest-smart" interventions in which the World Bank Group will aim to take a landscape approach, addressing forests along with other sectors. Aggregated biodiversity offsets fall into this category.
The Forest Plan notes that a key benefit of land use planning is the possibility to define aggregated biodiversity offset schemes. For sectors such as mining and infrastructure, in order to achieve net gains after earlier steps in the mitigation hierarchy have been pursued, biodiversity offsets may be needed and the report states that aggregated offset schemes can be more economically and ecologically efficient means for developers to achieve these gains. The Plan goes on to say "aggregated offsets schemes would benefit the conservation of forest resources and would unlock business potential in many countries, notably in West Africa, where governments are aggressively pursuing mineral development with little regard to forests".
The IUCN Biodiversity Offsets Policy
The IUCN Biodiversity Offsets Policy has been approved by IUCN's Council and has been formally submitted as a Motion for consideration as part of the 2016 World Conservation Congress. Please note that the motion is only accessible to IUCN institutional Members, Commission Members and Secretariat.
An online discussion of the Motion (and Policy) is now open to IUCN Members and Commission Members from May 2 – July 3. That discussion can be accessed here:
https://portals.iucn.org/congress/motion/064. This is a new approach for IUCN – online debate and discussion – the expectation is to frontload discussion on Motions prior to Congress in order to ensure enough time for deeper debate in person at Congress. Many motions are expected to be voted upon online prior to Congress, however, it has already been determined that the Biodiversity Offsets Policy will also be discussed in person and voted on in Honolulu.
Regarding the Online Discussion, IUCN:
- Encourages review by colleagues of the Policy, and interaction online. For institutional members, you may need to do this via your institution's IUCN focal point.
- If you are not an IUCN Member or Commission Member, please reach out to others with feedback (or become a Member)
- In case you have any technical problems please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For any other questions and inquiries, please contact the Secretariat Motions Team at email@example.com
At the Congress:
There are going to be at least 6 to 8 workshops, panel discussions, presentations, knowledge cafes, even a "Conservation Case" dealing with biodiversity offsets and the mitigation hierarchy during the Forum of the World Conservation Congress. Additionally, the Biodiversity Offsets Policy itself will be discussed and voted on during the Members Assembly. IUCN will provide more information as to the specific events as we get closer to the date.
Consultation on biodiversity offsetting in England: Summary of responses
Almost two and a half years after it closed, the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published a summary of responses to the public consultation on the green paper "Biodiversity offsetting in England". Some of the interesting points that emerged include:
- A slight majority of respondents agreed that the Government should introduce a biodiversity offsetting system in England, although many respondents qualified their response (i.e. they might support offsetting if certain conditions were met, for example if offsetting would always be a last resort). A majority of general public respondents were opposed to biodiversity offsetting either as a matter of principle or due to a lack of confidence that the system would work.
- Regarding the question "Do you agree that it should be the responsibility of planning authorities to ensure the mitigation hierarchy is observed and decide what offset is required to compensate for any residual loss?" 61% of respondents agreed. They emphasized the importance of following the mitigation hierarchy, and that offsetting should only be a last resort, and that demonstrating adherence to the mitigation hierarchy should be the responsibility of the developer.
- As to whether or not developers should be able to choose to use offsetting or not, 80% of respondents said "no". Some believed that the pilot offset experiences in the UK and international experience demonstrated that mandatory offsetting is necessary for the scheme to achieve its objectives. Others did not believe that developers would offset responsibly unless it was compulsory.
Presently, there are no concrete actions identified as a result of the consultation, only that Defra will continue to work "with Natural England and interested parties to further our shared understanding of how best to compensate for biodiversity loss when it cannot first be avoided or mitigated as required by the National Planning Policy Framework". For an analysis of this report, the evaluation report of the six offset pilots initiated by Defra and the long-term outlook for offsetting in the UK, readers can find this article by Ben Connor of the British Ecological Society. The Environment Bank has also produced this two page summary of pilot site evaluation report.
Controversial changes proposed in New South Wales, Australia
The state government of New South Wales (NSW) has proposed two draft conservation bills that would overhaul the State's biodiversity conservation laws, including expanding the scope of offsetting. The two bills currently out for public consultation would replace the Native Vegetation Act, the Threatened Species Act and sections of the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Conservation groups are concerned that the reforms will result in more land clearing, similar to what happened in neighboring Queensland when offsetting laws were relaxed. The government maintains that the new system will provide greater flexibility for farmers while also providing financial incentives for conservation.
The proposed changes give farmers the ability to self-assess in some cases, offering them greater flexibility to clear land. More intensive clearing will be subject to certification by authorities. Under the proposed revisions, land in NSW would be divided into exempt land, where clearing can occur without approval; regulated land subject to a new Local Land Services Act; and excluded land, where the new framework does not apply. Where compensation is required, farmers would be able to arrange for set asides for permission to clear certain land, or pay into a Biodiversity Conservation Fund.
An analysis of the draft bills in this article in Lexology states that "The reforms would establish a single biodiversity offsets scheme, intended to improve consistency and streamline timeframes in assessing and offsetting the biodiversity impacts of development. Under the scheme, a new Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) would be used to assess biodiversity value at a particular site. This would replace other methods, including Species Impact Statements, the BioBanking Assessment Methodology and the Framework for Biodiversity Assessment, among others." This methodology is also intended to provide guidance on how a developer could apply the mitigation hierarchy.
Critics however, including the government's opposition have referred to the proposed changes as a "watered down biodiversity offset policy" and have pointed to internal government documents, now made public which indicate that NSW's Office of the Environment and Heritage raised concerns over proposed changes that would enable development projects to count on-site rehabilitation towards their offset commitments. The public consultation period for both Draft Bills extends until 28 June 2016. Submissions may be made here.
The latest newsletter of The Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity is available here. Items of interest include:
- Information on the 2016 CBD Business and Biodiversity Forum, which will occur in Cancun Mexico on 2-3 December, immediately prior to the start of the thirteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the CBD.
- IUCN provides a summary of two papers recently released under the auspices of the NPI Alliance (Rio Tinto, Shell, The Nature Conservancy and IUCN, which ended in 2015) which make the case for the private sector to explore a Net Positive Impact approach. "Net Positive Impact on Biodiversity: The Business Case", highlights the increase in voluntary commitments to NPI by the private sector during the past decade. It concludes that adopting an NPI approach may entail additional costs, but these are outweighed by the risks of not applying NPI, especially given the way that the regulatory and investment landscapes are changing. The second paper "Net Positive Impact on biodiversity: The conservation case", which references BBOP, concludes that although concerns have been raised in terms of the potential risks and limitations of NPI implementation significant progress has been made establishing quality assurance mechanisms, such as best-practice standards and verification and forecasting tools and that overall, the conservation case for NPI is strong if there is sufficiently high quality and quantity implementation.
- Updates from a number of national and regional Business and Biodiversity Initiatives are also provided, including The EU, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Sri Lanka. You can find more information on these groups, including annual reports on activities in 2015 here.
Cross Sector Biodiversity Initiative
The Cross Sector Biodiversity Initiative (CSBI) is a forum established between the oil and gas industry (IPIECA), mining industry (ICMM) and the Equator Principle Financial institutions to support the application of the mitigation hierarchy for biodiversity and ecosystem services throughout its members' project activities. Its publications and tools are available here. The CSBI Tools and Guidance Working Group is working with The Biodiversity Consultancy to develop an awareness-raising training module for three sectors: banking, oil and gas and mining. The modules aim to enable upstream management of biodiversity and the associated reduction in projects costs/delays. CSBI plans to finalize the product by the end of June.
Conferences and Events
Conferences and Events
Spain´s first Natural Capital Summit to take place in October
The first Spanish Natural Capital Summit will take place in Madrid on 5-6 October and is organized by Ecoacsa Biodiversity Reserve in collaboration with Fundación Global Nature and Fundación Conama. The Summit is supported by the European Commission through the Business@Biodiversity initiative.
The summit aims to introduce natural capital approaches and their associated opportunities by presenting initiatives and case studies from around the world.
The conference offers the opportunity to learn about how organizations both impact and depend on the earth's stock of natural capital, and how these relationships can be identified, measured and valued. Readers are invited to submit a session proposal for the Natural Capital Summit. Please send proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org
Natural Capital | Let's talk business! 23-25 November 2016, The Hague (NL)
The international conference "Natural Capital | Let's talk business!" will take place on November 23-25 2016 at the Fokker Terminal in The Hague (the Netherlands). This conference will explore how conservation and sustainable use of nature can be part of doing business, and how companies can seize sustainable development opportunities. Registration is now open.
The third Annual Conference of the EU B@B Platform will take place on 23 November 2016 back to back with the Natural Capital | Let's talk business! Conference. The 2016 Annual Conference will be hosted at the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) in The Hague. It will present an opportunity for the EU B@B Platform's members and other businesses to learn about the work of the EU B@B Platform and exchange their views on the critical issues linked to business and biodiversity.
CBD COP 13 Business and Biodiversity Forum
The 2016 CBD Business and Biodiversity Forum will take place in Cancun, Mexico on 2-3 December 2016 immediately prior to the start of the thirteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the CBD, which will be taking place 4 – 17 December 2016. The Forum will run in parallel with the Ministerial High-Level Segment of the COP.
The four "mainstreaming sectors" that will be highlighted throughout COP are: Agriculture; Forestry; Fisheries; and Tourism. A special dinner for business participants and ministers will be held in the evening of 2 December 2016. The Forum will also feature the 6th Meeting of the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity. Additional information is available here.
- The BBOP Secretariat Team
(Kerry ten Kate, Patrick Maguire, Amrei von Hase, Ray Victurine, Sebastian Winkler)