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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

What is biodiversity and why is it important?

This first briefing outlines what biodiversity is and why it is important.

PDF iconBiodiversity1_DE.pdf267.38 KB
PDF iconBiodiversity1_EN.pdf291.61 KB

Over 100 organisations call for an end to biodiversity offsetting plans

Edinburgh, November 21 - This press release coincides with the opening of the World Forum on Natural Capital in Edinburgh. To highlight their concerns about the event, 140 organisations from all over the world are releasing a statement to say ‘No to biodiversity offsetting’. The statement was launched in a counter forum on Natural Commons place in Edinburgh at the same time.

NGO statement against biodiversity offsetting

Around the world, ecosystems and the communities that depend on them are harmed by large infrastructure projects, extractive industries and new financial markets. To facilitate these activities, public and private entities are promoting new schemes to allow their environmental impacts to be ‘offset’. This could lead to an increase in damage, but even more concerning is that it commodifies nature.

FERN’s response to ‘Biodiversity Offsetting in England’ Green Paper

FERN's submission to the UK consultation on biodiversity offsetting explains why such offsetting should not be introduced in the UK. FERN is concerned that other than the first question, the implicit assumption was that offsetting should go ahead. This goes against the spirit of a genuine public consultation where all options are open. We urge the government not to rule out the option of deciding not to proceed, as ruling it out would not be in accordance with a genuine consultative process.

Biodiversity offsetting - an end to environmental protection?

A think piece written by FERN Campaigner Hannah Mowat for the Ecologist explains biodiversity offsetting is deeply flawed because it fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between people and their natural surroundings.

NGO concern as UK Government releases its consultation on biodiversity offsetting

This press release was launched on the day the UK Government published a long-awaited green paper on its proposed plans to implement biodiversity offsetting. The UK has been trialling biodiversity offsetting through a series of pilots since last year, but so far they have been an abject failure - the press release explains why. To see the green paper and input into the consultation visit: