Biodiversity offsets are measurable conservation outcomes that result from actions designed to compensate for significant residual biodiversity loss that arise through development projects. They are intended to be implemented only after all reasonable steps have been taken to avoid and minimise biodiversity loss at the development site i.e. they are the last step in the so-called mitigation hierarchy. Offsets aim to internalise the external costs of development by imposing a cost on the activities that cause biodiversity loss, and are based on the polluter pays approach (OECD, 2016).
The publication Biodiversity Offsets: Effective Design and Implementation (OECD, 2016), draws on the literature and on lessons and insights from more than 40 case studies on biodiversity offsets worldwide, including three in-depth chapters from the United States, Germany and Mexico. It examines opportunities and challenges that have been encountered in the design and implementation of biodiversity offsets programmes and provides good practice insights to enhance their effectiveness.