Some time ago I have been asked by Divya Narain if I could contribute an article to the latest issue on business and biodiversity of “SQ — raising the sustainability quotient” –the bulletin of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
I suggested to write something about the business case for biodiversity offsets (including some extracts from my PhD). I am happy to announce that SQ is now available online (open access). You can download the full version directly on the website of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and find the abstract to my article below.
Biodiverstiy loss is one of the biggest challenges that we are facing. Therefore, actions need to be taken to halt this global loss urgently and immediately. One such tool, Biodiversity Offsets is gaining wide acceptance around the world. To put simply, the negative impacts of business operations on biodiversity need to be compensated or counterbalanced by conservation or restoration measures in order to ensure there is ‘No Net Loss’ of biodiversity.
An important question that has become a cornerstone of the discourse on biodiversity offsets is – Is there a business case for biodiversity offsets i.e. does it make good business sense for companies to offset their biodiversity impact?
In general terms, there are two types of motivations for business to adopt biodiversity offsets, which align with the values assigned to biodiversity by humans: 1. Ethical value: altruistic motivation for the implementation of biodiversity offsets. 2. Value of benefit: improvement in business and enhancement of profit. The view that the business case of biodiversity offsets is based mostly on the weighing of costs and benefits that they offer to businesses could be an oversimplification. It does not provide room for the various possible types of involvement of other stakeholders such as government, investors, industry sector as a whole. Therefore, we might conclude that the business case is not one ‘case’ with strictly defined conditions and particularities but instead covers a whole variety of different cases or types of biodiversity offsets.