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The protection of biodiversity, or the variety of life on Earth, is an essential part of sustaining a healthy, functioning environment. To maintain that richness, ensuring the conservation of threatened habitats is key. In recent years, companies have been developing new ways to fund the conservation of these habitats through the use of biodiversity credits.

Simply put, biodiversity credits work by identifying a particular threatened habitat and forming a partnership with the owners of that land. If they meet the agreed-upon goals in terms of improvement, the habitat then generates a biodiversity credit that can be purchased and used by someone else. Creating such credits, proponents believe, could provide a way to fund conservation on a much larger scale than previously seen.

At the same time, however, the process of creating and accrediting such credits has come under some scrutiny; in January 2021, a joint investigation found that the majority of rainforest carbon credits certified by Verra, the world’s largest certifier of voluntary carbon credits, were in fact worthless. In response, Ekos, a New Zealand carbon credit developer and accreditor that is part of the Biodiversity Credit Alliance, is now working on its own proprietary biodiversity credit. The goal is to ensure they are properly accredited and have high levels of integrity and accuracy.

Currently, many countries around the world are embracing the potential of biodiversity credits as a way to help conserve threatened habitats. This could provide an opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders—including private companies, public organizations, non-governmental organizations, and other investors—to join forces in an effort to protect the future of biodiversity. Additionally, creating a more robust and reliable system for accreditation of these credits could also help encourage further investment into conservation initiatives.

While there is still a long way to go before biodiversity credits become the global standard for conservation, their potential to fund conservation on a much larger scale is something that should be explored and celebrated. Companies like Ekos that are making strides in establishing accredited, reliable credits show great promise and should be applauded. With collective action, and particularly with adequate investment, biodiversity credits can help save our planet’s threatened habitats and natural resources.