Professor Lynda Hubert Ta examines the practice of biodiversity offsetting

Faculty of Law - Civil Law Section
Faculty member
Environmental law

By Common Law

Communication, Faculty of Law

Professor Lynda Hubert Ta inset. Background is a mining landscape
Countries around the world are drafting policies on biodiversity offsets – the practice whereby corporations can compensate for environmental damage done in one site, by promoting environmental protection in another.

A new article from Professor Lynda Hubert Ta of the Civil Law Section and Professor Bonnie Campbell of the Université du Québec à Montréal suggests that while compensating for negative impacts on biodiversity is laudable, it is also debatable. 

The new article is entitled “Environmental protection in Madagascar: Biodiversity offsetting in the mining sector as a corporate social responsibility strategy”, published in the journal The Extractive Industries and Society (Volume 15, September 2023). 

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. 

The full article is available to read here