As the world’s forests, lands and waters keep being destroyed, the people whose livelihoods are deeply linked to these places cannot continue their way of life and are often pushed into poverty and hunger. At the same time, the very actors profiting from this destruction have found a way to come across as friends of Nature. How is that possible?
Exposing the absurd logic behind this paradox is the goal of a new booklet published by the NGOs Re:Common and Counter Balance. 'Biodiversity Offsetting, a threat to life' is a short report aimed at explaining what biodiversity offsetting is and how it is deployed by private companies – with the support of governments and the legitimization of some conservation organizations and academics – to greenwash their reputation and continue with business-as-usual.
Starting from the observation that biodiversity offsetting projects are mainly top-down and imposed on communities with little regard for their wellbeing, the booklet shows through concrete examples and illustrations how this mechanism is nothing but a license to destroy.
While in the eyes of international financial institutions, governments and corporations, the damage to nature and communities is an inevitable price to pay for development and economic growth, the booklet calls on communities to reclaim their fundamental right to decide what is best for them and their territories.
Alessandro Runci, campaigner at Re:Common and author of the booklet, claimed:
“We deem unacceptable that the burden of the protection of Nature is placed on those who are least responsible and most affected by its destruction, while helping corporate polluters to greenwash the impacts of their businesses. It is illogical to replace environmental regulations with perverse mechanisms to trade forests, grasslands, mountains and deserts for profit. Nature is priceless, and it is not for sale.”
Xavier Sol, director of Counter Balance, added:
“The real causes of the destruction of Nature are rooted in a development model designed to take from the many and give to the few. Biodiversity Offsetting allows corporations to continue with their destructive businesses undisturbed. We believe that it is of vital importance that civil society and NGOs stand united against this mechanism, and say: No to biodiversity offsetting!”