Characterization of the project's need for biodiversity crediting

It is important to clearly state that this methodology judges outcomes from the perspective of other species. Humans may make marginal improvements in degraded ecosystems, and certainly, for severely degraded ecosystems this can easily be a 200%-fold, or 300%-fold improvement. However restored ecosystems can never be fully available to the complete variety of native species in the way that undisrupted ecosystems are.

This methodology has a simplified approach to additionality to enable IP and LC inclusion.

For projects occurring in high-biodiversity, high-threat ecosystems, additionality is inherent in the Ecosystem characterization and Value normalization. For example, any intact ecosystem on an IUCN red list, or biodiversity hotspot ecosystem is inherently additional due to its threatened status.

The Integrity calculations in this methodology are meant to establish acceptable proof of a conserved ecosystem. Thus instead of providing evidence for a change, they provide reasonable evidence of no change which is inherently additional in a threatened ecosystem.

In the context of conservation, where external sources have validated that an ecosystem is under threat, additionality merely needs to demonstrate that the project maintains the presence of biodiversity and that activities are not duplicated by other sources.

For most IP and LC projects, additionality is inherent in the Ecosystem characterization and lack of funding. For example, an Indigenous group with land rights inside an IUCN-threatened ecosystem is inherently additional due to its threatened status and lack of external funding.

When this is not the case, projects must provide an additionality analysis to demonstrate that the biodiversity conservation is directly related to the project activity(ies) and not an external source. Biodiversity conservation directly resulting from non-biodiversity activities implemented as part of the BCP (e.g., by the implementation of a carbon credit project) shall be excluded from the calculations and only their indirect effects on the included segments shall be considered. In other words, identical project activities for non-CBD projects cannot be double-credited. Biodiversity projects must be additional to carbon projects as habitat preservation alone is not enough to demonstrate intact populations of species.

Variables to be considered in an additionality analysis:

  • Financial additionality: Demonstrate that there are no other local or international initiatives financing the BCP conservation/restoration activities that the project is proposing. Demonstrate that there are no other local or international initiatives financing the BCP conservation/restoration activities that the project is proposing. Another aspect of financial additionality would be proof that without the revenues from selling Voluntary biodiversity credits, the project would not be financially viable. Partial financial additionality may be demonstrated by partially funded projects for a reduction in credits.

  • Normative additionality: The project must demonstrate that the project is additional by national and international norms. The following references are useful for the application of this methodology:

    • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (United Nations 1992).

    • National policies and action plans related to the use and management of biological diversity.

    • National environmental legislation related to the management of biological diversity.

    • International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169 (ILO 1989) in case the host country has ratified the ILO Convention 169 and/or adopted national legislation. The project should adhere to whatever sets a higher standard and is more stringent.

    • UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) (United Nations 2007) in all projects occuring on Indigenous territory whether or not formal land recognition has been established at the national level.

  • Regulatory surplus assessment: The project actions should go beyond the law’s requirements. If a project merely complies with existing regulations, it is not additional.

In cases where the land is officially protected or subject to protective regulation (buffer zone, national parks, etc.), additionality may comprise evidence that forests are inadequately protected and are at risk or threatened by downgrading, downsizing, degazettement, biodiversity loss, poaching, or animal trafficking. In that case, use the following indicators or evidence:

  • Maps/images of historic land use to detriment of forest or biodiversity loss.

  • Data on population growth.

  • Market data on the value of forests and agricultural land.

  • Damage from or potential for illegal cropping, poaching, logging, or mining.

  • Threats of interference based on the value of local materials for uses such as medicine and other chemical uses.

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