This co-authored report outlines issues and challenges related to the future development of biodiversity offsets and banking. It presents results from a high-level international workshop on “Challenging futures of biodiversity offsets and banking,” which was held in 2013 by the Innovation in Governance Research Group at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and brought together leading stakeholders involved in the development of biodiversity offsets and credit trading as an innovation in governance.
A key finding is that while the design of biodiversity offset approaches and biodiversity valuation methods is often framed as functional-methodological issues, it is almost always linked with more fundamental and potentially antagonistic philosophies, worldviews and rationalities of how to see, use and value nature. The methodology, design and implementation of biodiversity offset and banking schemes is thus as much a political as a technical issue, a matter of concern and judgment, fact and functionality. It thus appears that a quick resolution of open issues and challenges in the design and use of biodiversity offset schemes may not be desirable, at least if it would imply closure in the debate by establishing ‘one best way’ of doing biodiversity conservation. The fundamental political nature of most controversies on how to conceptualize, organize and implement biodiversity offset schemes suggests that there is no objectively right or wrong design decision to be taken. Any decision will be a political decision in favor of one approach and against others. This should be made explicit to allow the concerned publics of such approaches, as well as a more general public, to judge and engage with them on their own terms.
Mann, Carsten, Jan-Peter Voß, Arno Simons, Nina Amelung, and Till Runge. 2014. Challenging Futures of Biodiversity Offsets and Banking. Critical Issues for Robust Forms of Biodiversity Conservation A Report Based on an Interactive, Anticipatory Assessment of the Dynamics of Governance Instruments, 19 April 2013. Technische Universität Berlin.