Fern agrees with the European Commission that there is a need for the EU to help tackle biodiversity loss. We were concerned however, that ‘biodiversity offsetting’ was being considered to help tackle the problem. Biodiversity offsetting relies on the premise that biodiversity lost in one place can be replaced in another, achieving ‘no net loss’.
This proposal was based on flawed assumptions. Biodiversity is not an item on a shop shelf: offsetting ignores how unique and interconnected biodiversity is and overlooks the importance of nature for local communities who are negatively impacted when local wildlife is damaged. Most importantly, rules about how to use land should be based on what communities want, not whether a company can pay for an offset. The proposed introduction of biodiversity offsetting was a paradigm shift for environmental law in the EU, and Fern therefore worked hard to make sure it was stopped.
Fern supported organisations documenting and exposing the effects of biodiversity offsets on nature and communities. We brought case studies to the attention of EU decision makers working on biodiversity related legislation and proposed ideas for how the EU could better halt biodiversity loss. We are proud of the success of this campaign which we believe has led to the protection of countless areas of high biodiversity for future generations.
For more information on our previous campaign, see our briefing note Beyond biodiversity offsetting; trading away community rights in Gabon and press release European Commission’s biodiversity offset report shows it is deaf to the concerns of EU citizens. Also watch this film: Biodiversity offsetting, making dreams come true.