Construction, industrial development and the extraction of natural resources such as metal and energy are essential for economic growth. However, these activities often result in significant losses of biodiversity that cannot be totally avoided under business as usual circumstances.
BCUs address this issue by providing project developers with a mechanism to offset the irreversible impact of their projects on affected ecosystems
Consequences on the Biodiversity of Actions with Important Environmental Impact
BCUs address this issue by providing project developers with a mechanism to offset the irreversible impact of their projects on affected ecosystems. By enhancing and protecting the ecological value of a given territory, one may claim BCUs. These BCUs, issued from a conservation project that continuously protects a valuable living land into perpetuity, may be traded to offset the biodiversity losses occurring from development on other valuable lands.
The idea of biodiversity offsetting may seem controversial to those in the conservation community who fear that offsetting may encourage regulators to permit projects with severe impacts on biodiversity as long as they compensate by purchasing BCUs. This would allow companies to leave significant impacts in areas affected by projects as long as they undertake conservation measures elsewhere.
The BCUs developed by the Business and Biodiversity Conservation Program (BCP) address this concern by advocating for strict conformance with the ‘‘mitigation hierarchy” which actually views the role of biodiversity offsetting as a ‘‘last resort”. All reasonable measures must be taken to first avoid and minimize the impact of a development project and restore biodiversity on-site, only then may a project developer purchase BCUs to offset biodiversity losses and limit the project’s impact on the ecosystem. Conformance to the mitigation hierarchy is the first of ten best practice principles established by BCP