Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP)
The Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) is a partnership between public and private sector groups, designed to explore the potential for biodiversity offsets. It aims to show that ‘biodiversity offsets can help achieve significantly more, better and more cost-effective conservation outcomes than normally occurs in infrastructure development’.
Biodiversity offsets can be either voluntary or regulatory and are designed to achieve no net loss (or a net gain) in biodiversity with project development.
Phase 1 of the program (2004-2008) has developed 10 principles of biodiversity offsets, a toolkit of materials for those involved in biodiversity offset programs, and a pilot project portfolio.
The 10 Principles cover a number of topics:
- No net loss
- Additional conservation outcomes
- Adherence to the mitigation hierarchy
- Limits to what can be offset
- Landscape Context
- Stakeholder participation
- Long-term outcomes
- Science and traditional knowledge
Now, during Phase 2 of the project, the primary focus of the BBOP is to assist project developers understand and apply the BBOP standard, using either
- Early stage risk assessment for projects with significant biodiversity impacts
- A means to improve application of a 'mitigation hierarchy'
- Assessment tools for compelte offset design
The mitigation hierarchy views offsets as a 'last resort'. Once impact on biodiversity has been assessed, components of that impact are analysed as to their ability to be i) avoided, ii) minimised, iii) rehabilitated or restored. Only the residual component of the impact is supposed to be offset according to the BBOP.
There are currently 5 projects in Madagascar; Ghana; USA; South Africa; New Zealand. These are voluntary agreements with the developers of the sites, 4 of which are mining projects and remainder being a residential consutrction (USA).
The Standard was published in January 2012. The program is now looking for organisations to report back on their experience using the standard.
The Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) Secretariat is made up of Forest Trends and the Wildlife Conservation Society
The BBOP Advisory Council is made up of many members drawing on diverse groups: companies, service providers, financial institutions, government and intergovernmental organisations, conservation and civil society groups.
The next stage of the project, an update on the standard from field trials and a consultation process will begin 2015-2016.
At present the BBOP is in pilot stages and is financially supported by a number of donors: IFC; MacArthur Foundation; Global Environment Facility; Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spacial Planning and the Environment; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)