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Biodiversity offsetting

Fern’s aim is to ensure environmental protection in the EU focuses on how to avoid damage by highlighting problems related to offsetting mechanisms

Fern’s analysis: The European Commission has recognised the importance of tackling biodiversity loss. However, the tool it is currently considering to tackle this – called ‘biodiversity offsetting’ – relies on the premise that biodiversity lost in one place can be replaced in another, achieving ‘no net loss’. 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. Worst of all, rules about how we determine land-use depend upon whether a company can pay for an offset, not on what local communities want. This is a paradigm shift for environmental law in the EU, and must be stopped.

What Fern is doing: Fern supports organisations documenting and exposing the effects of biodiversity offsets on nature and communities. We bring case studies to the attention of EU decision makers working on biodiversity related legislation and work with other organisations to propose ideas for how the EU could halt biodiversity loss. To sign up to a statement against biodiversity offsetting, click here.



Most recent publications

Banking Nature: will putting a price on nature protect it?

On 23 June, the European Parliament hosted a screening of the documentary Banking Nature, which questions the role that markets play in protecting biodiversity, followed by a debate about the role the EU should play in supporting innovative financial mechanisms for biodiversity protection.

Beyond biodiversity offsetting; trading away community rights in Gabon

This is the fourth in a series of briefing notes outlining concerns and considerations related to global proposals to offset biodiversity loss. This briefing note analyses a dangerous new proposal being discussed in Gabon for a new Sustainable Development Law (SDL) which goes even further than biodiversity offset schemes outlined so far.

PDF iconTrading away rights.pdf906.63 KB

European Commission’s biodiversity offset report shows it is deaf to the concerns of EU citizens

This press release raises concern about a new European Commission report on biodiversity offsetting which was commissioned before the conclusion of the Commission consultation on No Net Loss.

Open letter to Commissioner Potočnik about biodiversity offsetting

This letter from a group of concerned organisations and individuals who believe that legislation on biodiversity offsetting being considered by the European Commission would harm nature and people, and would give power to those who destroy nature for private profit. The signatories ask for all plans on offsetting to be dropped.

Public Consultation on the future EU Initiative on No Net Loss of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

FERN's submission to the consultation on No Net Loss of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services explains why the initiative should not be introduced. To see a short film outlining the problems with offsetting visit: