Biodiversity Offsets – A Briefing Paper for the Mining Industry

Where careful consideration of the social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts and benefits of a project indicates that development should proceed, biodiversity offsets have been identified as a potential means of addressing impacts on biodiversity that cannot be avoided, minimised or mitigated as outlined in the ICMM Good Practice Guidance (ICMM 2005). First formalised in the USA system of wetlands mitigation in the 1970s, biodiversity offsets are receiving increasing attention from environmental groups, a range of industries (including mining, construction, oil and gas and forestry), government and investors as a means of helping to balance competing demands of development and conservation protection. Some environmental groups see them as way of securing more and better conservation, for companies they are a means of securing and maintaining licence to operate and investors as a mechanism to help minimise the risks associated with corporate impacts on biodiversity. This paper is intended as a briefing document that highlights the key components of the current debate on biodiversity offsets. It draws heavily from the more detailed discussions of offsets set out in a paper from IUCN and Insight Investment (ten Kate et al. 2004). In it, ICMM puts forward a working definition for biodiversity offsets (section 3), considers the business case for offsets (section 4), highlights issues relating to the design of biodiversity offsets (sections 5), outlines the parties that have a stake in the decision on offsets (section 6), considers the management needs related to offsets (section 7) and offers a proposition from ICMM relating to offsets (section 8).

Related Documents