Natural capital accounting is generating a lot of attention lately with a new report warning companies of the perils of ignoring natural capital risk while the World Bank-led WAVES initiative is noting some advancements in the space. And BBOP is back from the London Zoo with feedback on the no net loss of biodiversity summit.
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13 June 2014 | Greetings! We’re back from London, where earlier this month Forest Trends, the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme, the Zoological Society of London, and Defra hosted an overflow crowd at the
Offsetting has been
There are still a lot of questions on how best to move forward on offsetting (with some preferring not to move forward at all), but at the summit we saw efforts to find a middle ground. At an ‘Opportunity or Peril’ debate, signs of agreement started to surface by the end of the discussion. Most panelists reiterated that good planning and the mitigation hierarchy were of primary importance. In fact, one audience member pointed out that perhaps “biodiversity offsets” were receiving the brunt of what was probably much broader discontent with weakening in land planning and environmental protection – in England at least. There was also agreement that success requires that the mitigation hierarchy be reinforced with clear legislation and strong enforcement, as seen in the German and US systems. Some skepticism remained that offsets in isolation could be positive, and would not lead to easing of protections and even corrupt environmental NGOs with a dependence on destruction-based funding.
Of course, design matters just as much as implementation does. As Morgan Robertson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the
Biodiversity offset pilots in the UK and a proposed national framework offer an opportunity to “seize this moment of measurement,” and have a robust debate that clears up misconceptions and addresses legitimate concerns about offsets.
Other conference highlights included sessions on designing and implementing national or regional ‘No Net Loss’ frameworks, stacking and bundling of ecosystem services, and an incredible quantity of experience shared by practitioners from around the world. Stay tuned for video interviews and other conference footage – they’re in the editing room and will be made available soon at Ecosystem Marketplace.
Natural capital accounting has also been in the news a lot recently, with a
—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team
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