Ethics in Biodiversity Offsetting – Legal Responsibility and Social Equity
The aim of this research project is to produce knowledge that can be used to improve the Swedish system of biodiversity offsetting so that it is not only ecologically relevant, legally feasible, and economically cost efficient, but ethically justified, including acceptable from a social equity viewpoint. The research project addresses three research themes:
Ethically justified exchange restrictions: Are there any impacts on biodiversity or ecosystem services that, from an ethical point of view, ought not to be part of any offsetting scheme (so-called “no go areas”)? Are there any types of exchanges (impacts-offsets matches) that ought to be considered impermissible? To what extent does Swedish law accommodate ethically motivated exchange restrictions? How can the Swedish legal framework for biodiversity offsetting, if needed, be reformed towards greater inclusion of such restrictions?
Social equity implications: What are the possible social equity implications of biodiversity offsetting? To what extent are social equity impacts (understood in terms of distribution of opportunities and risks in a safe and healthy environment among different groups, geographically and temporally) considered by the Swedish licensing authorities and in case-law, and what measures are prescribed in order to mitigate those impacts? How can the Swedish legal framework for biodiversity offsetting, if needed, be reformed towards greater inclusion of social equity impacts?
Fairness in allocation of legal responsibility over time: In light of Swedish and EU law, to what degree are operators obliged to compensate for negative impacts on biodiversity or ecosystem services over time? How far should the responsibility extend and how should uncertainty be factored into the decisions? What possible reasons (moral or legal) could be given in favour of deviating from the principle of full compensation? How can the Swedish legal framework for biodiversity offsetting, if needed, be reformed towards greater inclusion of uncertainty and fairness considerations in and a long-time perspective?
Karin Edvardsson Björnberg, Division of Philosophy, KTH (project leader), email@example.com
Mikael Karlsson, Division of Philosophy, KTH
Charlotta Zetterberg, Department of Environmental Law, Uppsala University
Henrik Josefsson, Department of Environmental Law, Uppsala University
Tim Schnoor, Ekologigruppen AB
Funding agency: Naturvårdsverket