A new article from Professor of the Civil Law Section and Professor of the Université du Québec à Montréal suggests that while compensating for negative impacts on biodiversity is laudable, it is also debatable.
Professors Hubert Ta and Campbell use the example of industrial mining in Madagascar to explore the emergence of biodiversity offsets as an increasingly common corporate social responsibility strategy. In the face of mounting pressure to demonstrate environmental responsibility, large mining operations are eager to seek legitimacy by demonstrating their support for green activities. “If offsetting contributes to making mining activities compatible with biodiversity protection, offsetting nonetheless authorizes infringing on biodiversity and acts as a license to destroy,” write the authors. They explore how offsetting could be inadequate, how it tends to be managed according to the interests of private enterprises rather than the public, particularly the local communities, and how it can produce or exacerbate negative social impacts.