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Over 100 organisations call for an end to biodiversity offsetting plans

Edinburgh, November 21 - Today, at the opening of the World Forum on Natural Capital1 in Edinburgh, 140 organisations from all over the worldare releasing a statement to say ‘No to biodiversity offsetting’. The statement was launched in a counter forum on Natural Commons2 taking place in Edinburgh at the same time.

Biodiversity offsetting is the theory that you can destroy nature in one place, as long as you replace it elsewhere to ensure “no net biodiversity loss”. Not only has this proven unworkable, it puts pressure on community livelihoods. Hannah Mowat from FERN explains why offsetting has had such poor results so far:3  “Offsetting treats nature such as forests or rivers as if it were an exchangeable item you buy in the supermarket. Destroying one forest or river with a promise of protecting another fails to recognise that they are part of a wider ecosystem and intrinsic to human and cultural landscapes. Destruction of complex and site specific biodiversity cannot be offset. It is time to be clear that offsetting will not tackle biodiversity loss but may impoverish communities."4

The statement raises concern that offsetting could erode the power of environmental laws to restrict damaging activities. In the UK, offsetting is being used as an excuse to speed up planning laws and remove ‘green tape’.5 The EU is also considering new laws that could question the strength of the Nature Directives.6 This is also the case in a number of countries in the global South, such as Brazil, where it is a license to trash:

“In Brazil, the government is reforming public policies to allow companies to ‘offset’ their impact rather than preventing damage in the first place. The Brazilian development bank, BNDES, provides grants to states to create subnational laws for carbon and biodiversity offsets. Though this is being challenged by the public attorney, these policies are causing dramatic violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and the rights of communities dependent on natural resources” said Lúcia Ortiz from Friends of the Earth Brazil.

Nick Dearden, director of the World Development Movement and co-organiser of the Forum on Natural Commons said: "Nature is a common good that we all share rights to and have responsibility over. It should be managed democratically by a commons-centred approach and not by a market based approach that takes power away from the people and gives more resources to those who can pay the most. Many organisations, scientists and people have come together through this statement to expose that the motive is profit, not conservation."

Climate justice activists currently at the climate negotiations in Warsaw are exposing that market based mechanisms such as carbon trading and forest carbon markets are proven failures and should not be extended to areas such as biodiversity.7 They are calling on governments to bring these failed approaches to an end and concentrate on ways to reduce carbon emissions and biodiversity loss at home.


Notes for editors:

-          The full statement and list of signatories is available at

-          For more information about the Forum on Natural Commons visit



For more information, contact:

Hannah Mowat FERN (In Brussels) +32 (0)

Nick Dearden (In Edinburgh) +44 (0)7932 335464

Antonio Tricarico (In Edinburgh) +39(0)3.28.84 85 448

Lucia Ortiz (In Brazil) + 55 (0)




ACIPA (France)

Accion Ecologica (Ecuador)

Abibimman Foundation (Ghana)

ADEGA - Asociación para a Defensa Ecolóxica de Galiza (Spain)

AdriaticGreeNet - Onlus

AEMS-RÍOS Con Vida (Spain)

African Alliance for Rangeland Management and Development - AARMD

African Conservation Foundation (United Kingdom)

AFRICANDO, Gran Canaria (Spain)

Agir pour la Crau (France)

Aliança RECOs - Rede de Cooperação Comunitária Sem Fronteiras (Brazil)

All India Forum of Forest Movements (India)

Alyansa Tigil Mina -ATM (Philippines)

Asociatia Bankwatch Romania

Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad (Colombia)

Asociación Geográfica Ambiental

Attac (Austria)

Attac (France)

Attac (Germany)


Beyond Copenhagen Collective (India)

Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha (India)

Biofuelwatch UK/US

Both ENDS (Netherlands)

BUKO (Federal coordination of internationalism)

Caldero Mágico

Carbon Trade Watch

CEADESC (Bolivia)

CEE Bankwatch Network

CEEweb for Biodiversity

Centro de referencia do movimento da cidadania pelas aguas florestas e montanhas Iguassu Iterei (Brasil)

Chipko- Appiko Movement (India)

Ciel voilé (France)

Corporate Europe Observatory

Counter Balance

Doman Chalosse Vivante

Down to Earth - Indonesia (UK)

ECA Watch (Austria)

Ecojornalistas do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)

Eco-Justice Ministries

Ecological Justice (Indonesia)

Ecologistas en Accion (Spain)

Ecologistas en Accion de Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz)

Ecologistas en Accion de la Comunidad de Madrid

Ecologistes en Acció del País Valencià

Ecologistes en Acció de Sant Vicent del Raspeig-GREMA

Ecologistas en Accion de Baena

Ecologistas en Accion de Fresnedillas de la Oliva

Ecologistas en Acción de Guadalajara

Ecologistas en acción de Villaviciosa de Odón

Ecologistas en Accion Palencia


Ecosistemas (Chile)

Ekologistak Martxan (Basque country)

Ekologistas Kaminan (Columbia)

Ethiopian Consumer Society

FASE-Solidariedade e Educação (Brazil)


Feasta (Ireland)

Fondation Copernic (France)

Food & Water Europe

Food & Water Watch

Forest People's Programme (UK)

Forest Town Nature Conservation Group (UK)

Fórum Carajás (Brazil)

Fórum Mudanças Climáticas e Justiça Social (Brazil)

Friends of the Earth Brazil

Friends of the Earth Costa Rica - COECOCEIBA

Friends of the Earth Europe

Friends of the Earth Flanders and Brussels

Friends of the Earth France

Friends of the Earth International

Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Carribean - Amigos de la Tierra América Latina y el Caribe

Friends of the Earth Mexico - Otros Mundos-Chiapas

Friends of the Earth Mozambique - Justiça Ambiental

Friends of the Earth Spain -  Amigos de la Tierra España

Friends of the Earth Sweden

Friends of the Earth US (United States)

Friends of the Siberian Forests (Russia)

Gaia Foundation

Gas Field Free Leamington

Global Justice Ecology Project


Gujarat Forum on CDM (India)

Heinrich Boell Foundation (Germany)

Human Rights in Masoala

ICCA Consortium

Indian Social Action Forum - INSAF (India)

Indonesia for Global Justice 

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (United States)

Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology -INFOE (Germany)

Instituto Equit - Gênero, Economia e Cidadania Global (Brazil)

International Scientific Forum "Danube - River of Cooperation"

Jeunes Volontaires pour l'Environnement (Togo)

Klimagerechtigkeit Leipzig (Germany)

Labour,Health and Human Rights Development Centre (Nigeria)

Little Village Environmental Justice Org

Mangrove Action Project

Medicina Democratica Onlus

MiningWatch Canada

Movimento Mulheres pela P@Z! (Brazil)

Nature Citoyenneté Crau Camargue Alpille (France)

New York Climate Action Group (United States)

NESPON (India)

ODG - Observatori del Deute en la Globalitzaciò (Spain)

OFRANEH - Organizacion Fraternal Negra Hondureña (Honduras)

Comitato Opzione Zero (Italy)

Pan-African Club

Plataforma contra la Especulación Urbanística y Ambiental de Candeleda

Plataforma de Toledo en defensa del Tajo

Presidio Europa No Tav (Italy)

Project for Energy Accountability

Quebrantahuesos (Spain)

Re:Common (Italy)

Redmontanas (Spain)

Save our Woods (UK)

School of Democratic Economics


South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (India)

Sudwind (Austria)

TACA (France)

Terrae Organizacao da sociedade civil (Brazil)

Terra SOS-tenible (Spain)

The Corner House (United Kingdom)

The Land Magazine (UK)

The Woodlandleague (Ireland)


Tourism investigation & monitoring team (tim-team) (Thailand)

TNI - Transnational Institute (The Netherlands)


Ulu Foundation


Urgewald (Germany)

VZW Climaxi (Belgium)

World Economy, Ecology & Development

World Development Movement (United Kingdom)

World Rainforest Movement (WRM)

World Temperate Rainforest Network

XminusY Solidarity Fund (The Netherlands)

Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan (India)