Biodiversity Offsetting

The promise to offset biodiversity destruction opens the door for corporations to obtain funding and access land which would otherwise be off limits for large-scale destruction. Promises to recreate or protect habitat of "equivalent" ecological value elsewhere is even opening up protected areas and World Heritage Sites to corporate destruction. Biodiversity offsets therefore create double destruction and exploitation, since corporations control both the territories affected by industrial activities as well as those targeted for offset projects.

This study looks at how Compensatory Afforestation is accelerating both, the destruction of forests in India by big corporations and the appropriation of community land for the supposed compensation.

Oil giants Eni and Shell have both recently announced plans to use trees to offset some of their ever increasing carbon emissions. On May 13th, NGOs put out a statement opposing the oil industry’s attempts to avoid its responsibility for climate breakdown.

Chiefs and leaders of indigenous peoples in Acre published a letter addressed to the governments of Germany and California, reporting that millionaire funds are coming to the state of Acre for REDD and PES payments, without transparency and benefiting few indigenous people.

While the destruction of forest territories continues, more pledges, agreements and programs are being implemented in the name of ‘addressing deforestation and climate change’.

BIOFUND, a conservation fund to finance protected areas in Mozambique—with support from the World Bank, international cooperation and conservation NGOs—intends to use biodiversity offsets to obtain resources and speculate in financial markets.