To B(e)BOP or not to be BOB? – Do we need a Biodiversity Offset Blog besides the Business and Biodiversity Offset Program?

To BeBOP or not to be BOBAdmit­tedly, I did exag­ger­ate a bit with the play on words in the title of the post and the pathos of the words unveils more sar­casm than an hon­est ques­tion. But as long as this blog exists I have felt the need to clar­ify the rela­tion between the long stand­ing suc­cess of the Busi­ness and Bio­di­ver­sity Off­set Pro­gram (which cel­e­brates its 10th anniver­sary this year – happy birth­day BBOP!) and the new­bie, which is the Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets Bog (short: BOB). This feel­ing was encour­aged by sev­eral people’s remarks or ques­tions in this regard: Is another plat­form needed or use­ful beside BBOP and if yes, what would be the added value of it? How does it relate to the BBOP No Net Loss Dis­cus­sion Group on LinkedIn? How can such a plat­form be sus­tained in the long run? Now, these points have been loosely touched here and there on the blog and I will sum­ma­rize the main points in this post.

What’s wrong with BBOP?

Frankly, that’s not the ques­tion. And I can openly tell you (you will know or find out any­way), that I have been actively engaged with BBOP for sev­eral years now, also as part of its Advi­sory Group. For me, this doesn’t entail any con­flict of inter­est with my work as (inde­pen­dent) researcher and envi­ron­men­tal plan­ner and I am not play­ing in the lobby of busi­ness to sell green­wash­ing for envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion or degra­da­tion. To make it clear, I do also think it is to wrong BBOP to accuse them of the lat­ter. At the heart of BBOP there are some highly moti­vated and com­mit­ted folks (Kerry, Patrick, Amrei – you name them) who are striv­ing to make a pos­i­tive impact (sorry for the buzz­word). In the past decade they have (sci­en­tif­i­cally sound) dis­cussed var­i­ous aspects of bio­di­ver­sity off­sets (most promi­nently the mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy and the appro­pri­ate­ness of bio­di­ver­sity off­sets, includ­ing the “No Go” option for devel­op­ment), set up a com­mu­nity of prac­tice (with webi­nars, an online library, a LinkedIn Dis­cus­sion group, orga­nized (and con­tributed to) var­i­ous events and most impor­tantly devel­oped stan­dards and guide­lines and tested these on bio­di­ver­sity off­set pilots around the world. Now, that I have largely pointed out how I value the work of BBOP, I want to point to its inher­ent prob­lems in the light of the grow­ing con­tro­versy and pub­lic dis­course on bio­di­ver­sity off­sets. This leads me to the fol­low­ing question:

Why is there a need for the Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets Blog beside the Busi­ness and Bio­di­ver­sity Off­set Program?

More pre­cisely the ques­tion should be asked why I saw a need for a Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets Blog. The answer is actu­ally quite sim­ple. I was search­ing for a flex­i­ble, adap­tive and quickly respon­sive solu­tion to struc­ture, orga­nize and com­ment the increas­ing infor­ma­tion and news on bio­di­ver­sity off­sets that are avail­able online. And that is some­thing that the impact and heavy­weight of BBOP isn’t so much suited for. Fur­ther­more, from the point of view of off­set crit­ics, neg­a­tive lan­guage con­no­ta­tions arise with regard to BBOP as the name includes the word “busi­ness”. While I per­son­ally don’t think this is jus­ti­fied, I still do under­stand this line of argu­men­ta­tion and want to open the dis­cus­sion broadly on the weak­nesses (and chances) of bio­di­ver­sity off­sets, but also on the con­cept as such (do we have the right to exchange one piece of nature for another?). To some extent the dif­fer­ent LinkedIn Dis­cus­sion groups can con­tribute to this dis­cus­sion and I have engaged  in inter­est­ing dis­cus­sions around bio­di­ver­sity off­sets there and thus also share the updates from the Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets Blog on LinkedIn. But (pro­fes­sional) social net­works have a limit when it comes to struc­tur­ing and orga­niz­ing infor­ma­tion such as links, files, pic­tures, dis­cus­sions ets.

What are the goals of the BOB?

The goal is to main­stream and facil­i­tate the dis­cus­sion on Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets. This includes the fol­low­ing objectives:

  • The focus lies on bio­di­ver­sity off­sets as such (not mar­ket based instru­ments or other more gen­eral topics).
  • The for­merly wide­spread infor­ma­tion shall be brought together to make it eas­ily acces­si­ble for a max­i­mum of people
  • And thereby to unite the soci­etal debate with aca­d­e­mic find­ings and prac­ti­cal insights.
  • This includes join­ing dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives (bio­di­ver­sity off­sets are not restricted to the inter­est of business).

The Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets Blog com­bines gen­eral infor­ma­tion (includ­ing an updated list of experts, lit­er­a­ture, web­sites etc.) with fre­quent blog posts on new arti­cles, sci­en­tific papers, polit­i­cal news, off­set exam­ples on the ground and so on.

Despite sim­i­lar aims BBOP and the BOB apply very dif­fer­ent means and tem­po­ral scales

BBOP and the BOB both aim for a lively dis­cus­sion and exchange on bio­di­ver­sity off­sets, in order to draw valid con­clu­sions and develop best prac­tice for (or instead of) bio­di­ver­sity off­sets. How­ever, while BBOP seeks to main­stream bio­di­ver­sity off­sets grounded on the best pos­si­ble sci­en­tific knowl­edge, the BOB wants to crit­i­cally exam­ine and dis­cuss the phe­nom­e­non of bio­di­ver­sity off­sets and com­pile as many related infor­ma­tion as pos­si­ble. As a result both apply very dif­fer­ent means and espe­cially tem­po­ral scales:



Stan­dards and guidelines Dis­cus­sions and drafts
(agreed) prin­ci­ples Opin­ions and viewpoints
active reac­tive
Long term From day to day
Newslet­ter Posts, newsweek
Pro­mo­tion of bio­di­ver­sity offsets Dis­cus­sion and con­tro­versy on bio­di­ver­sity offsets
Bal­anced Provoca­tive (sometimes)
Elab­o­rated texts Think-and-write scratch­pad
Main­stream issues Includ­ing very spe­cific issues
Giv­ing answers Rais­ing questions


To B(e)BOP or not to be BOB? – Do we need a Biodiversity Offset Blog besides the Business and Biodiversity Offset Program? — 5 Comments

  1. Mar­i­anne, I would encour­age you to con­tinue with your blog, which I per­son­ally find very inter­est­ing, for the very rea­sons you list under your ‘BOB’ col­umn above. Keep up all the good work!

  2. Mar­i­anne,

    I wish to per­son­ally thank you for get­ting BOB up and run­ning and con­tin­u­ing to update it daily. I enjoy the dis­cus­sions and the dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives and think that BOB is a valu­able less formal/exploratory site on which to com­ment and to seek com­ments and per­spec­tives. BBOP is very very good also, and I think that both con­tribute well in dif­fer­ent ways as you have listed.

    Thank you very much for the great infor­ma­tion and discussion



    • Dear Lau­rence, Thanks for your feed­back and please for­ward any news or updates so that I can share them here on the Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets Blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>