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Biodiversity offsetting

Fern’s aim is to ensure environmental protection in the EU focuses on how to avoid damage by highlighting problems related to offsetting mechanisms

Fern’s analysis: The European Commission has recognised the importance of tackling biodiversity loss. However, the tool it is currently considering to tackle this – called ‘biodiversity offsetting’ – relies on the premise that biodiversity lost in one place can be replaced in another, achieving ‘no net loss’. Biodiversity is not an item on a shop shelf: offsetting ignores how unique and interconnected biodiversity is and overlooks the importance of nature for local communities who are negatively impacted when local wildlife is damaged. Worst of all, rules about how we determine land-use depend upon whether a company can pay for an offset, not on what local communities want. This is a paradigm shift for environmental law in the EU, and must be stopped.

What Fern is doing: Fern supports organisations documenting and exposing the effects of biodiversity offsets on nature and communities. We bring case studies to the attention of EU decision makers working on biodiversity related legislation and work with other organisations to propose ideas for how the EU could halt biodiversity loss. To sign up to a statement against biodiversity offsetting, click here.



Most recent publications

Nature is not for sale!

This event on 2 June 2014 at the Regent’s Park Hub was the second forum on the natural commons. It was split into two discussions. The first considered new directions in conservation and took a closer look at ‘value’ and offsetting. The second looked at biodiversity offsetting and community rights. More information is available in the attached presentations and agenda.

Offsetting is a massive threat to wildlife, warn environment groups

Biodiversity offsetting is already being used by developers to justify schemes that will cause irreversible harm to nature, warn over 15 environment groups across the world today (Monday 2 June 2014), ahead of a major biodiversity offsetting conference in London this week.

Case studies of biodiversity offsetting: voices from the ground

A contentious new policy being pursued by the UK Government will lead to a loss of biodiversity and local natural areas for communities. Biodiversity Offsetting promises to make good the damage done to nature by creating equivalent nature elsewhere, but in doing so, it masks the loss of important natural spaces for communities.  What’s more, it is a dangerous distraction from the need to do more to protect nature and have a more environmentally sustainable economy. In these case studies, communities speak out about what offsetting is allowing on the ground.

PDF iconOffset stories - Final.pdf1.01 MB

Biodiversity offsetting in practice

This is the third in a series of briefing notes outlining concerns and considerations related to EU proposals to offset biodiversity loss. This briefing note analyses how biodiversity offset schemes have fared so far and shows that the picture is far from rosy.

To read briefing 2 click here.

To read briefing 1 click here.

PDF iconBiodiversity3_EN.pdf1.89 MB

What is biodiversity offsetting and why is it problematic?

Biodiversity is essential to the health of people and the planet and yet European Union (EU) targets to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010 have been missed. In an attempt to remedy the situation, the EU is reworking its biodiversity strategy and biodiversity offsetting is expected to play a key role in it. This briefing outlines what biodiversity offsetting is and why it likely to cause more problems than it solves.

PDF iconBiodiversity2_DE.pdf323.69 KB
PDF iconBiodiversity2_EN.pdf290.05 KB