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From the Editors

Don Ross, a Florida mitigation banker and founder of EarthBalance, is tired of explaining to people outside his industry that he's not really a banker. Rather, he's a green entrepreneur using development dollars to restore impacted ecosystems.

Ross isn't alone. In fact, the mitigation banking space's largest trade association recently opted to rebrand themselves. With a name change from the National Mitigation Banking Association to the Ecological Restoration Business Association, the industry hopes to more clearly communicate its work to lawmakers. The new name, association leaders say, defines the industry that members represent, the public benefit they deliver, and their entrepreneurial purpose.

However, not everyone is happy with the rebrand and a group of discontented former NMBA players broke off to form their own group, the National Environmental Banking Association.

“ERBA has a broader focus on the bigger restoration industry,” says NEBA Chairwoman Donna Collier. “They took the name banking out of their name, and we have a lot of bankers that felt threatened. We felt like we needed to maintain our support of the banking industry so that’s what we do.” 

The shake-ups suggest deeper changes in the industry - which some practitioners say might be a good thing.

As industry leaders embraced change these last few months, the wheels of banking and biodiversity conservation continued to turn. A Washington farming family is opting to turn some of their land into the state's second-largest mitigation and conservation bank. Corporates and conservationists teamed up to develop biodiversity metrics for the private sector, and a Europe-focused initiative called ECOSTAR, which intends to help fledgling nature-based businesses gain traction, which just launched today. We covered launch events on Twitter for those who have embraced the little blue bird. 

Happy reading,

-The Ecosystem Marketplace team

 
   

Latest News

Big Mitigation Bankers Embrace Role As “Ecological Restoration Businesses”, But Smaller Players Feel Sidelined

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but the benefits of mitigation banking aren’t as self-evident. Now, the sector’s leading trade association is changing its name to the “Ecological Restoration Business Association”, while a new organization will focus exclusively on the mitigation banking sector.

Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.

Climate Space Turns To States, Business And Rest Of World As Trump Pulls US From Paris Agreement

While US President Donald Trump did announce his intention to pull the nation out of the Paris Climate Accord earlier today, climate practitioners are already expressing optimism and faith in China, Europe and leaders at the state level to step up and carry on with already-laid plans to decarbonize.

Hear what the climate community had to say.

New Initiative Lends A Helping Hand To Europe’s Green Entrepreneurs

Organic farmers and other environmental entrepreneurs are a romantic lot, but they don’t have the opportunities for training and finance that providers of solar and wind technologies do. That’s set to change with the launch of ECOSTAR, a university-business hub that links the world of markets to that of ecosystem services science. The project launches on June 15th with a call for nature-based start-ups interested in learning the ropes.

Keep reading at Ecosystem Marketplace.

Unraveling Biodiversity Offsetting’s Many Moving Parts

A new webinar from the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme draws on lessons learned from a project in Queensland, Australia to explore how rubber hits the road in offsets design and implementation. Presented by Alan Key of Earthtrade, the Queensland project involves an offset requirement for three mining companies and an indigenous landholder supplying the offset. As countries and companies adopt No Net Loss policies for biodiversity, Key says it’s critical that stakeholders understand not only technical barriers but also legal, financial and on-the-ground challenges offsetting projects face.

Watch the webinar.

HERE’S THE DEAL

Farmers Grow New Commodity: Ecosystem Services

The Alternative Land Use Services program, a Canadian public-administered initiative that compensates landowners for providing and enhancing ecosystem services on their property, is building on success in Manitoba to expand its work in Alberta. ALUS pays upfront and maintenance costs on stewardship projects, and participation jumped from five landowners in 2013 to 70 today.

Find out more at Alberta Farmer Express.

Also, read about ALUS Canada’s New Acre program, which enables corporations to offset their environmental impact by financing sustainability efforts on farmlands.  

Nature-Based Solutions and the Countries Using Them

Coastlines are among the world's most populated places and as appealing as they are, they're also dangerous and extremely susceptible to flooding. A recent UN Development Programme blog highlights its investments in and use of nature-based solutions in several nations.

Read UNDP’s blog.

MARKET MUSINGS

Iowa Wetland Bank Open for Business

Early this month, nonprofit Iowa Agricultural Mitigation Inc announced its first round of wetland credits are ready for purchase. Under a relatively new Department of Agriculture program, farmers can buy wetland bank credits to remain in compliance with Farm Bill conservation stipulations.

Read more at Wallaces Farmer.

Opting for Untamed Development

Rather than turn their rolling farm into a housing development, one Washington state family is opting to "re-wild" half their land and convert it into the state's second-largest conservation and wetland bank. Restoration plans are still in early days but, if successful, the bank will generate four mitigation credit types.

Keep reading at The Columbian.

POLICY WATCH

Biodiversity Bill Doesn't Pass Muster with NSW Greens

The New South Wales government's release of proposed reforms to the state's aging biodiversity laws were met with scorn from the Greens party. While the group didn't care for any of the environmental proposals, they particularly singled out the biodiversity offset component, calling it a scam.

The Bellingen Shire Courier-Sun has more.

Drawing Battle Lines Over Sage Grouse Conservation

Western state governors are already saying if the federal government, led by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, attempts to overhaul greater sage-grouse conservation plans, they'll oppose it. The leaders claim that without voluntary state-led efforts the bird is vulnerable to a listing status under the Endangered Species Act.

The Denver Post has the story.

NEW RESEARCH

Help for Corporates seeking Healthy Ecosystems

In order to support corporate efforts to reduce their environmental impacts, a consortium of private sector and conservation actors have released both a framework for measuring impact and a methodology on biodiversity metrics. Authors of a working paper say the framework aims to aid companies and investors on sustainable decision-making while the methodology provides real-time and dynamic analysis on ecosystem services.

Learn more from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Aussie Offset Project Doesn’t Cut It

New research exploring a biodiversity offset project in Australia revealed it was completely ineffective at protecting or enhancing endangered species harmed by road development. Researchers said more stringent policy that holds the developing entity accountable for failure along with long-term project monitoring and evaluation could help avoid such ineffective offsetting in the future.

Read more at the Conservation.

   
   

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