Biodiversity offsets are measurable conservation outcomes developed to compensate for unavoidable residual impacts to biodiversity resulting from project development to ensure no net loss or even a net gain in biodiversity. This is an emerging area and is subject to ongoing trials and improvements, so represents a priority for science-policy groups such as CCI to actively engage in.
On the 1st June 2009, Shared Challenges helped to bring together organisations from CCI and beyond to discuss offsetting in a UK, EU and international context. This allowed CCI to input directly to a technical report for the European Commission on habitat banking in the EU. The scoping study carried out by the EU followed one of the group’s key recommendations by including a no-net-loss policy.
Work in this rapidly changing area is ongoing, including running a joint CCI and CCF workshop in July 2011 to consolidate an expert review of version 1 of the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) Standard (published in January 2012), including Principles, Criteria and Indicators for biodiversity offsetting. The Programme also helped Samir Whittaker, a student on the Cambridge Conservation Leadership Masters course, to convene a workshop to assess alternative governance models for developing a BBOP draft standard as part of his dissertation.