This document presents a standard on biodiversity offsets, intended to help determine whether an offset has been designed and subsequently implemented in accordance with the BBOP Principles. BBOP agreed its ten Principles in 2009, and this standard is presented as a hierarchy of Principles, Criteria and Indicators (PCI): an architecture similar to that used in a number of other standards, such as the Forest Stewardship Council, the Marine Stewardship Council, the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, Round Table on Responsible Soy, and others. ‘Principles’ are interpreted as the fundamental statements about a desired outcome. ‘Criteria’ are the conditions that need to be met in order to comply with a Principle. ‘Indicators’ are the measurable states which allow the assessment of whether or not a particular Criterion has been met. In order for the PCI structure to be as streamlined and efficient as possible, a ‘necessary and sufficient’ test was applied to each Criterion and Indicator during the drafting process. In other words, the Criteria need to be both ‘necessary’ (i.e. no redundancies) and ‘sufficient’ (i.e. together, the Criteria are enough to demonstrate the Principles have been met and the Indicators enough to demonstrate the Criteria have been achieved). Consequently, each Criterion and Indicator is an essential part of the whole, and all need to be met for a biodiversity offset to meet the Standard. The issue of conformance with the PCI (what is needed to ‘meet the Standard’) will be refined based on experience of using the standard and is discussed briefly below.
Although the PCI focus on the ecological aspect (i.e. intrinsic values) of biodiversity, the principles also embrace its socioeconomic and cultural values, since these must be taken into consideration in following the mitigation hierarchy and demonstrating no net loss or a net gain of biodiversity. Taking care of these values is also essential to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of biodiversity offsets.
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