Mitigation & Conservation Hierarchy

The Mitigation & Conservation Hierarchy extends the principles of the four-step Mitigation Hierarchy to provide a framework for global biodiversity goals.

At A Glance

The Mitigation & Conservation Hierarchy extends the principles of the four-step Mitigation Hierarchy for addressing the impacts of development on biodiversity: refrain, reduce, restore, and renew, to provide a framework for all sectors of society to contribute to global biodiversity goals.

It has been developed by a coalition of academics, NGOs and private sector organisations by applying the four step process to a range of real-world situations, over extended landscapes and supply chains down to individual consumer actions. It acts on the principle that through smart development policies, responsible businesses operations and sustainable lifestyle choices, every individual and organisation can take concrete actions which scale towards reducing biodiversity impacts and then seeking to make positive biodiversity outcomes over the long term.

This approach helps all levels and sectors of society to contribute towards the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework’s bold vision of “living in harmony with nature” by 2050 by providing a step-by-step framework called ‘The Mitigation and Conservation Hierarchy’ to guide identification, implementation and monitoring of specific actions that contribute to overarching biodiversity goals.

The four steps, established in the ‘mitigation hierarchy’ showed the importance of protecting natural habitats as a priority, but where development results in biodiversity loss it lays out a clear process to minimise this and then plan positive biodiversity outcomes to off-set losses: First (1) avoid and then (2) minimise impacts as far as possible, then (3) restore/remediate impacts that are immediately reversible, and finally (4) offset any residual impacts, to achieve a desired net outcome (usually no net loss or net gain).

The Mitigation & Conservation Hierarchy, or ‘Four Steps for the Earth’: refrain, reduce, restore and renew, goes beyond individual project sites. An international fashion business used this approach to assess its biodiversity footprint and then develop a long term, nature positive strategy. It places a heavy emphasis on understanding and reducing biodiversity impacts, whilst also focussing on delivering additional conservation potential so that we can all help achieve net biodiversity gain, which is essential to protect our natural world for future generations.

Synchronicity Earth has supported the Mitigation & Conservation Hierarchy team in its communications, including its informative website, which has specific resources for a range of different stakeholders interested in using the framework (policy makers, individuals, private sector, and NGOs and civil society groups) and information about how different sectors can use it (fisheries; land use; fashion and textiles; minerals and mining; and institutional sustainability).