Most developers require some form of borrowing to get their development off the ground. But did you know that safeguarding biodiversity can significantly increase your chances of securing private funding?
Securing finance is an important step in the development process and private funding support is available to businesses from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), providing that the development project meets a number of criteria, including:
- Be located in a developing country that is a member of IFC;
- Be in the private sector;
- Be technically sound;
- Have good prospects of being profitable;
- Benefit the local economy; and
- Be environmentally and socially sound, satisfying our environmental and social standards as well as those of the host country.
Anyone who makes an application to the IFC needs to adhere to its Sustainability Framework – the IFC’s strategic commitment to sustainable development. It promotes sound environmental and social practices, encourages transparency and accountability, and contributes to positive development impacts.
The Sustainability Framework includes the IFC’s Performance Standards, which define a client’s responsibilities for managing their environmental and social risks.
The IFC’s Performance Standards are globally recognized as a benchmark for environmental and social risk management in the private sector. There are eight Performance Standards, which establish standards that the developer is to meet throughout the life of an investment by IFC. These include:
- Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts
- Labour and Working Conditions
- Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention
- Community Health, Safety, and Security
- Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement
- Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources
- Indigenous Peoples
- Cultural Heritage
Importance of Performance Standard 6
Performance Standard 6 (PS6) assess just how sustainable a development will be, taking into consideration biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of living natural resources.
PS6 has three main objectives
- To protect and conserve biodiversity
- To maintain the benefits of ecosystem services
- To promote the sustainable management of living natural resources.
The IFC’s aim is to ensure that all developments protect and conserve biodiversity, maintain ecosystems, and manage living natural resources. This is particularly important in countries that are reliant on natural resources to provide livelihoods, but also applies across the world. After all, any loss of biodiversity can have a knock-on effect on ecosystems, which contribute to the economic prosperity and development of people everywhere.
One of the aims of PS6 is to manage the impact that a development has on the IFC’s ‘ecosystem services’. These describe the benefits that we all get from ecosystems, and are broken down into four parts, including:
- The products we gain from ecosystems
- The benefits we get from the regulation of ecosystem processes
- The non-material benefits of ecosystems
- The natural processes that maintain other areas of biodiversity
Adhering to PS6
PS6 documentation can be complex, but an experienced ecological consultant can help you navigate this process. They will be able to use their knowledge and experience to complete the paperwork, advise you about possible risks to biodiversity, and outline the best ways to mitigate these risks in a cost-effective way.
They will be experienced with IFC approval and will be able to work with them to ensure your proposal is considered. They will also have relationships with other agencies involved in the approval process, including government bodies and frameworks supplied by other agencies.
To ensure you are fully compliant, your ecological consultant will deliver the following:
- Critical habitat assessment – including habitat characterisation, rapid surveys, reporting and stakeholder consultation
- Biodiversity management plan – to work as part of a wider Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP)
- Biodiversity action plan – an IFC requirement to describe measures taken to ensure compliance
- Biodiversity strategy – a broader strategy mainly for external stakeholders to refer to
- Biodiversity monitoring and evaluation – measurements taken throughout the lifetime of the project
- Biodiversity offset management plan – explaining what has been done to offset any environmental damage and how this will be maintained in the long-term.
By appointing an ecological consultant at the start of the process, you can avoid delays and any other biodiversity-related issues that may arise throughout the development.
Demonstrating your commitment to biodiversity
Demonstrating your commitment to biodiversity will not only significantly increase your chance of securing funding, but it also shows the IFC, and key stakeholders, that you are carrying out work in a responsible and sensitive way, and adhering to best practice.