Review of the biodiversity requirements of standards and certification schemes: new study of the CBD
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has published a review of the biodiversity requirements of 36 environmental standards. The standards cover eight business sectors: agriculture, biotrade, carbon offset, finance, fisheries, forestry, mining and tourism. The review looked at the way standards treat the components of biodiversity, threats to biodiversity (including appropriate responses) and references to multilateral environmental agreements.
20/12/11 - The review finds that many standards include the obvious references to biodiversity: species (94% of the standards), habitats (94%) and protected areas (86%). However, biodiversity aspects that are less obvious are covered by a much smaller number of standards. Less than half of the standards include a reference to priority conservation areas. If so, it is mainly the High Conservation Value Approach that is used.
Many standards recognise that impacts in nature are necessary but on how to minimise the damage to biodiversity they are less clear. Only a few standards refer to the mitigation hierarchy or require its use. The standards for the finance sector most often mention it, although frequently incomplete and without guidance. The few standards in the agricultural sector that refer to the mitigation hierarchy mainly deal with compensation.
Similarly, "no-net-loss” and "net-positive-impact” concepts are rare in most standards. A reference to positive impacts on biodiversity is included in the majority of the reviewed standards but only 17% of the standards mention explicitly that "no net loss” of biodiversity is required.
To improve the standards, the CBD makes seven recommendations:
- Adopt internationally recognised definitions for species and habitats
- Avoid the displacement of threats by not only referring to forests
- Include modified habitats
- Provide guidance on operation inside protected areas
- Recognise Indigenous areas and Community Conserved Areas
- Safeguard priority conservation areas outside protected areas
- Adopt the mitigation hierarchy and "no net loss" approaches
The study can be found here.