06 August 2019
“…biodiversity continues to decline in every region of the world at alarming rates. This loss of nature compounds other global challenges such as climate change, water security, food security, and public health and can potentially lead to catastrophic outcomes for human existence on this planet.” – DR Cristiana Pasca, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations.
Some scientists say the current rate of biodiversity loss is so high that the earth is now entering its sixth mass extinction event. To turn this trend around will require effort from us all — no single government, corporation or organisation can do this alone. This is one reason that, seven years ago, BHP and Conservation International embarked upon a global partnership to deliver significant and lasting benefits to the environment.
Conserving and protecting biodiversity
Working together over the past seven years, Conservation International and BHP (the Alliance) have not only mainstreamed biodiversity within BHP’s core business processes but have also delivered measurable outcomes for biodiversity conservation. During this time the Alliance has:
- invested over US$ 50 million in conservation across Australia, South America and Africa
- supported the conservation of hundreds of thousands of hectares of land in Peru (Alto Mayo Protected Forest REDD+ project), Chile (Valdivian Coastal Reserve), Australia (Five Rivers Conservation Area) and Kenya (Kasigau Corridor REDD project)
- improved the livelihoods of around 2,500 people in Peru and supported the continued provision of drinking water for over 250,000 people in Peru alone, through conservation of the source water area
- Helped protect at least 16 threatened species including the critically endangered- yellow-tail woolly monkey in Peru, darwin fox in Chile, and the Tasmanian devil in Australia.
A partnership of divergent thinkers can be the key to unlocking innovation. This is certainly the case for the Alliance which played a central role in developing the world’s first Forests Bond – an innovative approach to conservation finance aiming to stimulate private sector investment in conservation efforts at a scale necessary to halt and/or reverse the alarming rates of deforestation and biodiversity around the world.
These success stories demonstrate the impact the resources and conservation sectors can have when working together. But our work is far from complete. That is why we are renewing this Alliance for another five years.
Meeting global climate and biodiversity goals
We recognise stemming large scale loss of biodiversity and responding to climate change are interlinked global challenges, and the conservation of nature—particularly high-carbon ecosystems such as tropical forests, mangroves and peatlands—must play a key role if we are to achieve a pathway that limits temperature rise to well below 2oC, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Our focus, therefore, for the next phase of our collaboration will be:
- Financing natural solutions that address climate change and contribute to halting biodiversity loss, such as REDD+, the United Nations program for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Our previous work in this area focused on Peru and Kenya and we’ll be exploring new landscapes and new ecosystems—such as blue carbon—for project support.
- Developing a framework to support BHP’s efforts in evaluating and verifying the benefits of the company’s actions on biodiversity (both operational and social investments). Our aim is to establish standardised metrics and indicators that evaluate the effectiveness of biodiversity-focused activities and help improve decision-making within and beyond the resources sector.
- Contributing to the global response to climate change. As part of our REDD+ strategy, we will continue to stimulate the market for REDD+ and catalyse private sector investment in forest conservation efforts that provide co-benefits to communities by generating sustainable livelihoods and maintaining ecosystem services, including access to fresh water, food, and more.
These efforts will involve engagement across industry, and with governments, communities and development banks to mobilise greater private sector investment.
Our Alliance with Conservation International demonstrates the outcomes that can be delivered when the resources and conservation industries work together to achieve global goals. The next phase of the Alliance will continue to spearhead this work at a critical time for the world’s biodiversity and climate.