In the context of intensifying climate and biodiversity crises, international institutions and states have the power to regulate the private sector and set limits on their environmental destruction. However, instead of making regulation stricter, they are doing the opposite. Regulators are swapping classic, stringent regulations for much more lenient compensation and offsetting schemes.

Biodiversity offsetting, carbon offsetting and similar compensation offset schemes are being embedded in countries’ environmental regulations in different ways, and companies can use various mechanisms to fulfil offsetting requirements. Specific sectors, such as the global food, agriculture and aviation industries, use these schemes to maintain their social license to continue their destructive activities and ward off the threat of regulation. All of these new offsetting regulations lead to more, not less, environmental destruction, and often amount to a double land grab wherein corporations control land use at two locations.

Regulated Destruction explores and unpacks the myths behind biodiversity offsetting: what it means, and how it enables the destruction of nature and undermines environmental protection.

The report is one in a two-part series by Friends of the Earth International on the Financialization of Nature, a process which allows corporations to continue destroying ecosystems and livelihoods behind a smokescreen of market-based environmental regulations. The other report in this series is Nature for Sale