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Positive impact on biodiversity and ecosystems

Our priorities for biodiversity are critical and forest habitats.

  • Forest habitats: We will replant forests, achieving net-zero deforestation from new activities, while maintaining biodiversity and conservation value, commenced in 2022.
  • Critical habitats: Our new projects in areas rich in biodiversity – critical habitats – will have a net positive impact on biodiversity, commenced in 2021. We apply the same definition for measuring our net positive impact (NPI) for projects as the International Finance Corporation (IFC, 2019). The IFC states: NPI on biodiversity is a target for project outcomes in which the impacts on biodiversity (for example, the variety of ecosystems and living things) caused by the project are outweighed by the actions taken to avoid and reduce such impacts, rehabilitate affected species and/or landscapes and offset any residual impacts.

When planning a new project on land or offshore in the marine environment, we apply the mitigation hierarchy, a decision-making framework that involves a sequence of four key actions: avoid, minimise, restore and offset. We assess the potential impact of projects on biodiversity and local communities as part of our impact assessment process.

In 2023, we embedded our biodiversity commitments into our new Safety, Environment and Asset Management (SEAM) Standards, which take effect in mid-2024. We are developing guidance and sharing good practice across the organisation to support implementation.

See "Living by our values" for more information on the SEAM Standards.

Forest habitats

Deforestation occurs when forests are converted to non-forest uses. We use the definition of forest used by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Our aim is to avoid deforestation, in line with the mitigation hierarchy. Where avoidance cannot be achieved, we require our projects and assets to develop and implement reforestation plans that include measures to achieve net-zero deforestation, while maintaining biodiversity and conservation value. We work with partners and stakeholders to develop robust and credible plans unique to each reforestation project.

Between January 2022 and the end of 2023, around 292 hectares had been deforested as a result of our activities. This occurred largely in Australia, Canada and Nigeria where reforestation plans have been finalised.

Critical habitats

Potential new projects are screened to determine if they are located in a critical habitat. If we decide to proceed with a project that is in a critical habitat, we develop a biodiversity action plan. This sets out actions needed to follow the mitigation hierarchy and, where there is impact, the actions designed to achieve a net positive impact.

At the end of 2023, 43 of our new projects, which started after we launched Powering Progress in February 2021, were wholly or partly located in critical habitats. Of these, 20 already have a biodiversity action plan in place to work towards a net positive impact, compared with four in 2022.

Safety, Environment and Asset Management
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