Biodiversity offsetting: License to destroy



Would you like to extract copper and gold from the Gobi desert, gutting kilometres of Mongolian territory that is unique in the world? Well, you can! Just put collars on black-tailed gazelles and Khulan donkeys that live only in that area and claim compensation by reducing illegal hunting and habitat monitoring species at risk of extinction.

Do you want to destroy a piece of rain forest in the South of Madagascar to make way for a productive ilmenite mine? You can do that; you just need to recreate, or sometimes simply preserve, a natural habitat in another part of the country or planet that has the same characteristics of the one destroyed.

It’s called biodiversity offsetting, and in recent years it’s being more and more used by companies, financial institutions such as the World Bank, some major international groups for the protection of nature, and an increasing number of governments. It looks like a virtuous process, but it is actually a fraud.

This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication is the sole responsibility of Re:Common and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.


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