What’s it about in short: workshop on biodiversity offsets in New Zealand
When was it released: November 12, 2015
By whom: Jemma Penelope
More info: https://misjpmovesthings.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/update-on-new-zealands-biodiversity-offsets-from-the-latest-invercargil-workshop/
This week’s workshop showed New Zealand becomes more practiced in biodiversity offsetting, but commentary also highlighted that some problems will become more prominent, rather than less. For example, workshop leaders and audience discussed difficulties getting consent-holders interested in the long-term commitments required for perpetual biodiversity offsets.
Also raised were issues of time-lags between project impact and offset maturity, and small-scale impacts that would benefit from being able to contribute to aggregate offset options. Importantly, it’s becoming clearer we need a way to reward those who do pro-active or pre-emptive biodiversity management before their impact occurs.
From a policy perspective, Dr. Brown noted that there is clear potential for third-party offset providers to fill some of these gaps identified, and deliver better outcomes in offsetting situations. In monitoring and compliance, there are clear advantages to contracting out these responsibilities to dedicated entities – not the developers with businesses to run, nor the regulators with over-stretched institutional capacity.
Ussher went on further to point to the next step – Biodiversity Offset Banking (or BioBanking). He says there is plenty of demand from project developers to pre-emptively conserve and manage biodiversity before impacts occur, so there is a clear case that New Zealand will need to move towards incorporating a banking model in the future to truly capitalise the potential in biodiversity offsetting.
New Zealand is certainly gaining steam in biodiversity offsetting, and seeing that we’re not yet at the top of our game internationally, one would predict there is plenty of room for growth in this area. True environmental markets in the form of an Offset Banking system are not here yet, but are sitting on the horizon with the path clearing year by year. Watch this space.