The best things are achieved by banking your offsets, not just trading them

The US Govt. officially prefers biodiversity offsets to come from offset banking

After years of skepticism and missed targets – and an enormous amount of hard work – the USA’s mitigation banking (their term for Offset Banking) is finally, officially, correct.

This month, the wonderful Mr. Mike Sprague from TroutHeadwaters released this press release:

The White House released a Presidential Memorandum recently that mandates federal agencies to give preference to advance compensation mechanisms that are likely to achieve environmental performance standards prior to any adverse impacts.

Mitigation Banking and its close cousin, Conservation Banking, are the USA’s system of Offset Banking. Following controversial fits and starts in the 1970’s and some harsh critiques in the 1990’s, these Offset Banking industries have worked so very hard to match up the dream of pre-impact mitigation and offsetting, with the reality of what is delivered on the ground.
For years now, brilliant mitigation and conservation banks have been run across the USA, and the initial compliance and ecological faux-pas have been elegantly solved through policy, regulation, and technical up-skilling across contract law, endowment finance, and conservation biology.

As the press release explains, the culmination of this process is now seen in the USA government’s recognition that to mitigate or offset unavoidable impacts of development, it is Offset Banking that delivers the best results.

Being able to secure of the offset results prior to impact is the clincher to such results, but the clear processes and the stringent check and balances that drive this regulation-heavy industry are what make the offset results so assured.

A few decades is not long enough to truly judge the long-term outcomes of these permanent offset deliverables, but from a policy perspective important goals have been met – creating a system of sustainable development whereby negative development impacts are robustly linked to transparent and accountable environmental offsets.

I look forward to seeing USA’s final achievement providing an example to those in parts of the world, including New Zealand, that the best things are achieved by banking your offsets, not just trading them.

Copyright Credit to ToutHeadwaters Ltd - CO stream restoration

Copyright Credit to ToutHeadwaters Ltd – CO stream restoration

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