Biodiversity offsets are a form of conditional environmental financing. Like their more well-known cousin, carbon offsets, various parties (e.g. governments, companies or individuals) look to offset the damage they cause in one location by purchasing offset credits from an alternative location.
The International Standards Organisation has developed a series of standards that specify principles and requirements for organisations involved in greenhouse gas emission reporting. The ISO standards can be seen as guiding protocols providing general guidelines for the development of other programmes or standards.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement claims to be the ‘most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property’.
It covers a host of intellectual property rights and claims including copyright, trademarks, geographical indicators, industrial designs, patents, layout designs for integrated circuits, and undisclosed information (trade secrets and test data). The Agreement sets out principles that govern WTO member states and their national Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) legislation
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) SPS agreements looks to cover ‘how governments can apply food safety and animal and plant health measures’ without creating unnecessary ‘obstacles to trade’.
The agreement looks to reconcile two positions:
1) Ensuring that food is safe (in a culturally appropriate context) for consumers to eat
2) Ensuring that such measures do not hinder trade and are not used as an excuse to favour domestic producers.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) looks to limit the protectionist effect that technical regulations and standards may have on free trade. It was agreed upon at the establishment of the WTO in 1995.
The Global Environmental Facility unites 182 member governments in partnership with international institutions such as UN agencies, World Bank and international development banks. It aims to address global environmental issues. It invests in projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a voluntary international agreement signed by 175 national governments. It provides a framework for subjecting the international trade of certain specimens to monitoring and control. It is legally binding and signatories must ensure that adequate national measures are undertaken to comply to it.
Species covered by the convention can be categorised into three main types (detailed in Annexes).
The Ceres Coalition of investors, environmental organisations and other public interest groups states it’s mission as: ‘Integrating sustainability into capital markets for the health of the planet and people’. The coalition includes many Fortune 500 companies and is involved in improving the dialogue between multiple stakeholders through engagement and disclosure.
Members of ETI have to adopt the Base Code for ethical trading and sign up to the Principles of Implementation – these require a company to demonstrate its commitment to ethical trade, to integrate ethical trade into core business activities and drive year-on-year improvements. In addition they should support suppliers through training and capacity building and should report on their activities openly and accurately.
The ETI Base Code Principles cover the following areas:
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) declaration is a policy commitment by member governments to: improve the investment climate; encourage Multi National Enterprises (MNEs) contributions to social and economic development; and minimise and resolve difficulties from their operations.
There are 4 elements to the Declaration: