News Articles

This Week in Biodiversity: Sourcing Sustainably

March was a busy month for Ecosystem Marketplace’s biodiversity team: we re-launched SpeciesBanking.com, expanding globally, and co-hosted a biodiversity markets webinar with Mission Markets.  Outside EM, the issue of sustainable supply chain sourcing was a popular one this month.  Read on for details on this and other news from around the biodiversity world.

NOTE: This article has been reprinted from Ecosystem Marketplace’s Mitigation Mail newsletter. You can receive this summary of global news and views from the world of biodiversity automatically in your inbox by clicking here.

13 April 2011| March was a busy month for Ecosystem Marketplace’s biodiversity team. Early on in the month, we re-launched SpeciesBanking.com, expanding globally to include biodiversity compensation mechanisms around the world. Then on 1 April, we co-hosted a biodiversity markets webinar with Mission Markets. If you weren’t able to join the lively discussion on “Biodiversity Markets: Where are we and where are we going?” on 1 April, check out the recording posted here.
 
There is also a plethora of news this month, from increased demand for sustainable supply chain sourcing, to analyses of US mitigation markets. Don’t forget to scroll down past the news for our JOBS and EVENTS sections.
 
Finally, if you are in the US later this month (26-29 April), don’t miss the 2011 National Conference on Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking, which brings together private players and regulators of wetland, stream, and species banking, as well as stakeholders to discuss cutting edge topics and international developments. Find out more here.
 
Read on for a full round-up of this month’s latest news on financial incentives for biodiversity conservation.
—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at mitmail@ecosystemmarketplace.com.

News

Species Banking Goes Global

SpeciesBanking.com has established itself as the leading provider of news and information on the North American mitigation banking sector since its launch in 2008. Now it’s expanding to include biodiversity financing mechanisms from around the world, from information on fish habitat banks in Canada to policy developments on biodiversity offsets in Mongolia, and everyplace in between. All in all, the site will continue to include information on the over 900 species, wetland and stream banks in the United States while adding data from over 27 habitat banks around the world and over 60 policies and programs that provide the underlying drivers for biodiversity markets. Species Banking’s new global coverage is expected to provide greater transparency and information about biodiversity compensation instruments, helping to inform policy-makers and project developers, and spark private-sector interest and investment in biodiversity banking.

Learn more here
And visit Speciesbanking.com

New Guide: Corporate Ecosystem Valuation

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development has released its new Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV). The guide, the first major attempt to package approaches to ecosystem valuation specifically for business, offers private sector actors a framework for understanding how – and how much – their businesses depend on ecosystem services.

Read more here

Army Corps Needs to Examine Rationale for Mitigation Territories

Wetland and stream mitigation bankers have long complained that different regulatory agencies apply different standards, and a study published late last year in the “National Wetlands Newsletter” bears that out – at least when it comes to how the 38 districts of the Army Corps of Engineers determine the amount of territory individual mitigation banks should be allowed to cover. The study’s findings are troubling: because the nation’s terrain varies widely from region to region, the government gives the Army Corps of Engineers tremendous leeway in determining the optimal size of service areas. As a result, service areas vary considerably in size, type, and rigor across the nation. Unfortunately, variance often doesn’t reflect the geographical variance of a large nation, but rather the administrative variance across the Army Corps’ 38 districts. The study’s authors, based at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Institute for the Environment, argue that to provide a more effective mitigation system, increased rigor and ecological justification for service areas is needed, to ensure that private mitigation banks, public banks, and in-lieu fee programs all compete on an even playing field.

Read more here


Mitigation News

News from the Sustainable Supply Chain Trenches: Girl Scouts, McDonald’s, Kroger

In a charismatic story exemplifying consumer pressure to increase sustainable supply chain sourcing, two Girl Scouts have led the charge against Kellogg’s to stop unsustainable sourcing of palm oil used in Girl Scouts cookies. Kellogg’s have caved to the pressure and announced that they would purchase “GreenPalm” certificates for 100% of their palm oil use. GreenPalm certificates represent one ton of palm oil that has been sustainably produced. But the two Girl Scouts noted that the certificates do not guarantee that Kelloggs’ specific products are not linked to rainforest destruction.

Although the Girl Scouts didn’t set their targets on McDonald’s, the fast-food industry giant recently announced a new sustainable sourcing policy. Their Sustainable Land Management Commitment (SLMC) policy indicates that over time, agricultural raw materials (beef, poultry, coffee, palm oil) and packaging would come exclusively from sources certified as sustainable by external third-parties. WWF’s Market Transformation Initiative helped McDonald’s identify it’s top priorities for sustainable sourcing. In a July 2010 TED presentation (@ 11:20) , WWF’s VP Jason Clay noted that “100 companies control 25 percent of the trade of all 15 of the most significant commodities on the planet,” and “If these companies demand sustainable products, they’ll pull 40-50 percent of production.”

Also working with WWF, the Kroger grocery-store chain agreed to 100% sustainable sourcing of its top 20 wild-caught seafood items by 2015. The seafood will either be certified (or in the process of certification) by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), or will be “involved in a fishery improvement project with WWF.” The grocery chain will also discontinue unsustainable fisheries products: shark, marlin and bluefin tuna.

Article on Girl Scouts
Article on McDonald’s
Article on Kroger

Guyana Cashes in on Doing Nothing (To Destroy its Rainforests)

Norway has pledged a $40 million direct payment to Guyana this year to compensate Guyana for the preservation of its forests. The funds are part of an agreement between the two countries that aims to incentize keeping deforestation rates low; Norway has already channeled $30 million to Guyana through the World Bank. Under the agreement, Guyana will receive a total of $250 million by 2015 as long as it meets the terms of its REDD (‘Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation’) deal, which sets limits on deforestation rates. The terms of the agreement have also been newly updated to reflect lower-than-expected deforestation in Guyana.

Read more

A New PES Law Deep in the Rainforest

In Brazil, the state of Amazonas has released a draft law of Environmental Services, which would implement PES programs in the state. Included in the​ initial draft is language on conservation and soil improvement, water services, and scenic beauty, in addition to language on carbon sequestration.

Read more here
And the article in Portuguese here

Corporate Reporting on Biodiversity Looks to Take a Page out of Carbon’s Book

Momentum is building behind the need for better metrics for measuring and reporting on business’ effects on different types of natural capital. TEEB report leader Pavan Sukhdev told Reuters last week he’s increasingly seeing businesses looking to have a “net positive impact” on the ecosystems in which they operate, and growing interest in developing tools to better assess how business activities contribute to threats like deforestation or water resources degradation. The international Carbon Disclosure Project has helped to shape standards on greenhouse gas reporting, but no comparable methodologies exist yet for biodiversity or water. Fully fleshed-out accounting standards are still five to ten years away, Sukhdev says, but the writing’s on the wall. “Today there is no disclosure requirement for companies of your cost to nature,” Sukhdev said. “We’re saying it is possible to quantify this.”

Read more

Puma’s New Environmental Profit and Loss Statement to Capture Ecosystem Impacts

Puma announced this week it is developing the first-ever Environmental Profit and Loss statement to measure the company’s economic impacts on ecosystem health. The statement, which will be released beginning in the second quarter of 2011, is expected to improve upon current environmental reporting by looking at impacts along the entire supply chain. A Puma spokesman told Business Green that this approach would result in better integration of sustainability concerns into daily business decisions. “An EP&L account would help guide business to pinpoint environmental impacts in their operations and thus allow them to adapt and rapidly evolve, to align their operations along their supply chains taking nature into consideration,” he said.

Learn more

Buy, Sell Environmental Credits

Mission Markets(TM) Earth Exchange(TM) wants *you* to engage in its secure, web-based environmental attribute exchange. The exchange facilitates buying and selling of environmental credits across multiple environmental sectors. Mission Markets(TM) encourages registration as an official member via the Earth Exchange(TM), by going to www.mmearth.com and following simple instructions. Membership has its privileges… MM notes:

“Whether you are in search of operating capital, planning to build a greenhouse gas mitigation project, or looking to sell a wetland mitigation banking credit, you will increase your likelihood of successful execution as a member of the Mission Markets(TM) marketplace… Once you have registered, you will be able to browse credit listings as well as receive the monthly newsletter.”

Currently, members cover a diverse range of participation from buyers and sellers of environmental attributes, to investors in energy efficiency and sustainability companies, to sponsors and developers of renewable energy projects. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Theda Braddock at 253.677.6454 or theda[@]missionmarkets.com.

Learn more about membership, Mission Markets(TM), and their Earth Exchange(TM)

Leakage, Palm Oil Style

With Indonesia’s recent moratorium on deforestation in natural forests, big palm-oil player Sime Darby is moving operations to West Africa – leasing 220,000ha in Liberia and considering buying another 300,000ha in Cameroon. That’s a big chunk when you consider that the company hopes to reach 1 million hectares of plantation worldwide by 2015. MongaBay reports that “other rival palm oil giants like Sinar Mar, Olam International and Wilmar International are also tying up land deals in Liberia, Gabon and Ghana.” Sime Darby responded that it will follow Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil guidelines, no matter the location of operations.

Read more here

When Forest Communities Participate in Governance, Forests Win

A report analyzing 84 villages in Africa and South Asia found that the livelihoods of communities dependent on forests and the biodiversity of those forests were higher when local populations participate directly forest governance. Finding that there was little quantifiable evidence on social and ecological outcomes from forests, Lauren Persha of the University of Michigan conducted the study along with researchers at the International Forestry Resources and Institutions to study the connection between community involvement in forest governance and sustainability. While most cases saw one indication of sustainability below average, in more than a quarter the forest-based households were found to have above average indicators of sustainability.

Read more here
And coverage from Mongabay here

Ireland Undertakes First-Ever Countrywide Biodiversity Audit (Insert bad joke about finding a leprechaun here)

Taking a step toward meeting the EU-wide goal of halting biodiversity loss, Ireland has launched a country-wide an audit of biodiversity resources. Biodiversity is thought to contribute at least €2.6 billion annually to Ireland’s economy; a thorough assessment of these resources will inform long-term conservation planning, as well as developing more biodiversity-friendly agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors. In a preface to the report, Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre Dr. Liam Lysaght writes, “As the Irish economy seeks ways to revitalize itself, gaining a greater understanding of Ireland’s biodiversity and protecting Ireland’s natural capital should be one of the building blocks of that recovery.”

Read more and access the report

Power to the Forest People, a Transparency Story

In a sign that Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) requirements may indeed help local communities, the Kuayan community in Indonesian Borneo was able to work out an agreement with RSPO member PT Agro Wiratama whereby the company would relinquish 1,000 hectares of its concession to the community. Forest Peoples Programme notes that “under the RSPO’s standards, companies are required to respect the customary rights of local communities and indigenous peoples and must not take over their lands without their ‘free, prior and informed consent’.” Two complicating issues to this ideal, however, are the transparency of company plans and lack of recognition of communities’ land rights. Concessions can therefore be granted to palm oil companies although local communities are living in and using the same piece of land.

In this particular case, the community successfully lobbied for their rights because RSPO companies are required to publish their plans to expand operations. Because of this increased transparency, local NGOs were able to mobilize with the community to oppose the plans.

Press release

World Bank to Fund $6.9m Project to Protect Benin’s Biodiversity

The World Bank is funding a US $6.9 project to ensure protection of biodiversity in northern Benin’s savanna ecosystems. In addition to support for conservation measures carried out by the National Center for Wildlife Management, the World Bank grant includes $1.5 million for income-generation projects in neighboring communities to mitigate human pressures on savanna ecosystems.

Read more here

New UN project Uses Financial Incentives to Save the Sea Cow

The UN is piloting a new project that compensates residents of the Pacific island State of Palau for efforts to protect the dugong. Also known as the sea cow, the dugong is under threat from habitat degradation, over-hunting and accidental entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes. The new pilot project creates incentives for conservation, including payments to preserve the dugong’s sea-grass habitat, decrease hunting, and using dugong-safe fishing equipment.

Read more here

US MITIGATION NEWS
Evaluation of Wetland and Stream Mitigation in NC

[hat tip to Mitigation Management March newsletter ]

North Carolina Division of Water Quality just concluded a US EPA grant which paid for staff over a three-year period to evaluate the success of wetland and stream mitigation in the state. The study took a representative sample of 82 wetland and 79 stream sites, from all of the mitigation provider types in NC (NC EEP Design-Build, NC EEP Full Delivery, permittee-responsible mitigation, and Other). Some interesting results of the study include:

– “The research showed that 75 percent of wetland and stream mitigation projects were successful in meeting their regulatory requirements – a marked improvement from two studies done in 1995 that showed a 20 percent and 42 percent success rate for wetland projects”

– “The study found no statistically significant difference in the success rates achieved by the different mitigation providers.”

The draft report noted these potential areas of improvement: “Continued opportunities for improvement exist in the areas of regulatory record-keeping, understanding the relationship between post-construction establishment and long-term ecological trajectories of stream and wetland restoration projects, incorporation of ecological metrics into mitigation monitoring and success criteria, and adaptation of stream mitigation designs to promote greater success in the Piedmont physiographic region. “

Read the NC DENR press release about final report here
And read a news article on the report here
Access the November 2010 Draft report here

EBX Buys EarthMark

“Environmental Banc & Exchange, LLC (EBX) is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with EarthMark Mitigation Services, LLC (EarthMark) to take over management and control of EarthMark’s North Carolina and West Virginia operations and assets. EBX is a leader in the development of ecosystem mitigation banks and turnkey environmental offset solutions, and EarthMark is a proven quality provider of mitigation services. EBX will be retaining EarthMark’s current offices and selected personnel in Concord, North Carolina and Oak Hills, West Virginia, and will continue to operate under the EarthMark brand name in West Virginia.” (source: EBX press release, 2011)

For further information, please contact George Kelly at the Headquarters office of EBX in Baltimore at George[@]ebxusa.com.

Restore America’s Estuaries Introducing Coastal Wetlands Restoration onto International Carbon Markets

“RAE, a national advocacy organization dedicated to coastal and estuarine habitat restoration, will lead a technical working group that will develop requirements for quantifying and crediting the greenhouse gas benefits of several new types of wetlands conservation projects under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program… The working group will draft requirements for crediting a range of wetlands project types, likely to include mangroves and coastal and tidal wetlands… The working group, funded in part by New Orleans-based Entergy Corporation and KBR, will be led by RAE in partnership with ESA PWA, one of the nation’s foremost wetland restoration consulting firms headquartered in San Francisco, and Silvestrum, a Dutch-based firm that assists in the creation of carbon assets in land-use projects for compliance and voluntary markets worldwide…

By September, the group aims to complete a first round of draft requirements… The draft requirements will undergo peer review, public consultation and revision before being incorporated into the VCS Program requirements.” (source: RAE press release, April 6, 2011).

For more information, contact: Steve Emmett-Mattox/Restore America’s Estuaries: sem[@]estuaries.org; Dr. Stephen Crooks/Philip Williams & Associates, Ltd.: scrooks[@]esaassoc.com; or (Europe) Dr. Igino Emmer/Silvestrum: igino.emmer[@]silvestrum.com

New LA Mitigation Bank

Ecosystem Renewal, LLC recently announced the availability of credits at the new Shreveport Mitigation Bank. “The 295 acre bank is located in Bossier Parish, Louisiana bordering the Red Chute Bayou to the south. The service area of the bank extends through much of the northwestern part of the state including Bossier, Webster, Bienville, Red River, Natchitoches, and Claiborne parishes. It is strategically located to provide wetland mitigation credits to various impacts in and around the Shreveport metropolitan area.” (source: Ecosystem Renewal press release, 2011)

Read the press release here

Mitigation Bank Credits Available in GA

Mitigation Management announces the availability of credits at three Georgia banks: Middle Chattahoochee, Lower Savannah, and Upper Savannah.


Read about the available credits here
And see a list of banks here

Interested in Getting Involved with CU’s Initiative for Sustainable Development (ISD)?

The Initiative’s leaders are creating a list of those who want to be involved with Initiative for Sustainable Development – CU Real Estate Center and who are interested in attending a series of listening/doing sessions in Denver, Boulder, and one webinar to review 2010 accomplishments, a proposed vision for ISD http://leeds.colorado.edu/asset/realestate/curecisd.pdf, and determine future priorities.

Please send an email to stephanie .gripne[@]colorado.edu if you would like to be involved with the ISD listening/doing sessions.

EVENTS

 

European Conference on Biodiversity and Climate Change – Science, Practice & Policy

The conference sets out to meet a growing demand for sharing knowledge and experiences in the field of biodiversity and climate change in Europe. 12-13 April 2011. Bonn, Germany.

Read more about the conference here

2011 National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference

Explore, Learn & Network at the premier US conference on mitigation, conservation and ecosystem markets. This is THE conference for you if you are involved in – or have an interest in – mitigation, conservation and ecosystem banking and the related emerging markets. 26-29 April. Baltimore, Maryland, US.

Read more about the conference here

Valuing Nature Network workshops

The Valuing Nature Network (VNN) in partnership with Natural Environment Resource Council (NERC) will be running a series of workshops on biodiversity and ecosystem service valuation in London during May 2011.The workshops, supported by the Natural Capital Initiative (NCI), will cover a broad range of topics associated with valuing biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural resource use. 10, 11, 13, 17, 19, 20, 23, 24 May. London, UK.

Read more about the workshops here

2011 Yale Conservation Finance Camp

The 5th annual Yale Conservation Finance Camp will be held at Yale University. The course offers the latest information on a wide range of innovative conservation finance tools, including new sources of philanthropic funds, public capital and private investment, as well as a framework for analyzing and packaging them. The camp is focused on useful, hands-on tools for conservation practitioners and board members, foundation leaders, private investors and graduate students. The course is limited to 20 participants. 6-10 June. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, US.
Click here for further information on the camp

Ecosystem Markets: Making them Work

WRI and AFF host the fourth annual national conference on ecosystem markets. June 28 – July 1, 2011. Madison, Wisconsin.

Read more about the conference here

 

Ecosystem Services in Urban Areas Seminar 2011
This seminar will provide a platform to exchange information and ideas, based on the presentation of the cutting-edge research on the different perspectives on the value of ecosystem services in urban areas. 15-16 July 2011. Lodz, lí³dzkie, Poland.

Read more here

 

The National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration

Initiated by the University of Florida, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, NCER is dedicated to both small and large scale ecosystem restoration programs around the country. 1-5 August 2011. Baltimore, Maryland.

Read more about the conference here

Earth Stewardship: Preserving and enhancing the earth’s life-support systems

This conference brings together those practicing stewardship across all sectors to share ideas and innovations. 7-12 August. Austin, Texas.

Read more here

Ecosystem Services: Integrating Science and Practice 4th International ESP Conference

This conference aims to provide a continuous platform for researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to exchange information and ideas about new developments and pressing issues on the Science and Practice of Ecosystem Services (and to strengthen the partnership). 4-7 October. Wageningen, Gelderland, Netherlands.

Read more here

UNEP-FI Global Roundtable “The Tipping Point: Sustained Stability in the Next Economy”

UNEP FI’s 2011 Global Roundtable is the perfect opportunity to cast a spotlight on what the sustainable development agenda means for the world’s finance, investment and insurance sectors. 19-20 October 2011. Washington, DC.

Read more here

JOBS
UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Multiple Openings

1) Programme Officer, Marine Assessment & Decision Support programme – working mainly on the Hotspot Ecosystem Research and Man’s Impact On European Seas (HERMIONE) project.

2) Senior Programme Officer, Business, Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services programme – working on development & implementation of projects on risk assessment, biodiversity and ecosystems services indicators and metrics, & mitigation including environmental safeguards and offsets.

Click here for further details

General Secretariat of the Andean Community, Multiple Openings

The General Secretariat of the Andean Community is seeking three specialists to provide technical assistance to the Regional Programme of Biodiversity in the Amazon Region (BioCAN).


For more information and to apply click here

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Multiple Openings

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) seeks to recruit two consultants to 1) Assist in the preparation of guidelines to assist forest managers to respond to climate change challenges and opportunities at the forest management unit level, and 2) to prepare a paper on the current understanding of climate change impacts on forests, current or potential adjustments by forest managers in forest planning and management to accommodate adaptation and mitigation actions and the related challenges which forest managers face.

Learn more here

The Nature Conservancy, Global Strategy Director

The Global Strategy Director, Agriculture will lead the Conservancy’s organization-wide efforts to ensure that global efforts to achieve food security are pursued in a manner that safeguards biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Learn more here

Additional resources

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