Frequently asked questions


  1. CSBI’s Objectives, Composition and Relations with External Parties
  2. CSBI’s Structure and Operations
  3. CBSI’s Tools and Work Programme
  4. CSBI’s Standards and Commitments

1. CSBI’s Objectives, Composition and Relations with External Parties

What is CSBI?

The Cross Sector Biodiversity Initiative (CSBI) is a partnership founded in 2013 between IPIECA (the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues), the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and the Equator Principles Association (EPA). It aims to provide leadership in developing and sharing good practice related to the management of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the extractive industries. The initiative supports the broader goals of innovative and transparent application of the mitigation hierarchy in relation to the protection and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES).
The aim of CSBI is to bring the oil & gas, mining and financial industries together to share experiences as part of a culture of learning and continuous improvement.
The initiative has no legal personality and does not seek to establish a permanent reputation in its own right.

Who are CSBI members? Who participates in CSBI?

The three industry associations and all their members are automatically members of CSBI, although each member of an association participates to the extent that it chooses individually. Each industry association has a person designated to support CSBI while association members voluntarily participate, contributing their staff time and other in-kind support. Three international financial institutions (IFIs) – the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) participate as associate members.

Can private sector companies that are not part of ICMM, IPIECA or the Equator Principles Association participate in CSBI?

Yes. CSBI welcomes members from the oil & gas, mining and finance sectors who are not in the participating industry associations (ICMM, IPIECA or EPA). Membership criteria are available on request. There is a fee for participation if a company is not part of an industry association.

Where do CSBI’s operating funds come from?

CSBI annual budgets vary from year to year depending on the agreed activities. Each association pays an annual amount while IFIs and non-association members pay either a small annual membership fee or make direct contributions to the work programme. However, the value of CSBI’s activities is several times the annual budget because of the value of donated time and in-kind resources.

Can non-industry groups participate in CSBI? Can consulting firms participate?

Non-industry groups do not presently participate in the direct steering of the initiative. CSBI is directed only by the three industry associations – IPIECA, ICMM and EPA – and their members, along with associate IFI members. However, the initiative welcomes input from and collaboration with non-industry groups, such as the NGO community, academics and consultants. CSBI hopes that its tools will be picked up and applied widely by non-industry partners.

How does CSBI relate to other groups, associations or initiatives?

As a forum for cross-industry learning on BES best practice for the oil & gas, mining and finance sectors, CSBI welcomes feedback and debate on its products from the NGO community and other external experts on an ad hoc basis. However, CSBI does not currently formally collaborate with other initiatives.

How does CSBI engage with NGOs? How much input and engagement will it seek externally?

CSBI recognises the unique expertise of external stakeholders and NGOs in particular, their essential role in developing and promoting best practice, and the learning they can bring to the initiative. CSBI therefore seeks the external perspectives, concerns and suggestions to inform its work.
The associations comprising CSBI already have stakeholder engagement programmes, as do many individual corporate members. CSBI does not replace any association’s or individual institution’s partnerships or other engagement with NGOs. Therefore it focuses its efforts narrowly on its specific products and inter-sectoral agendas.
CSBI worked with a group of key NGOs from mid-2014 to mid-2015 to get feedback on draft tools and emerging issues for CSBI. These are organisations which have already worked closely with a number of the members on business and biodiversity issues. CSBI relies on the mutual benefit of this relationship and does not provide NGOs with any formal mandate or compensation for their time.

2. CSBI’s Structure and Operations

What is the governance structure of CSBI?

CSBI is a member-led initiative with members participating through working groups, occasional ad hoc task forces, and steering committees. An organogram and detail of workstream leads is available on the CSBI website.
Members take on leadership roles within CSBI structures on a voluntary basis. Balance and representation are always sought between the three participating industries on all structures. A independent, part-time CSBI coordinator supports all aspects of CSBI’s day-to-day operations.
CSBI is governed and directed technically by a steering committee with balanced representation from each participating sector. Current members are listed on CSBI’s website.
Working groups and task teams are responsible for developing and delivering specific work programmes and are managed by leads from member companies.

How, when and where does CSBI meet?

From 2013 to 2015, CSBI members met twice per year. One members‘ meeting is planned for 2016. Because of the large concentration of associations’ and members’ head offices around London, these meetings have tended to be in the UK. However CSBI encourages participation of members around the world and tries to rotate meetings to other countries and continents. Meetings generally consist of a session with participation of outside organisations and a members-only session.

What is in CSBI’s 2015-16 work programme?

In 2015, CSBI has had four key objectives:

  1. Roll out and support the uptake of CSBI’s tools and guidance products;
  2. Review the cross-sectoral issues and external drivers which influence the activities of the oil & gas, mining and finance sectors to inform CSBI’s long-term planning;
  3. Continue to develop CSBI’s internal knowledge sharing and external engagement; and
  4. Improve geographic coverage and participation of the membership, and relevance to operations.

The members’ meeting of June 2015 decided that CSBI should focus on roll-out, awareness and adoption of tools developed to date, emphasising their internal uptake over external engagement. The 2016 work plan (to be adopted in late 2015) is likely to focus on training, exchange of case studies, and support for uptake of the tools.

What is the future of CSBI?

CSBI will continue operating in the near term but does not aim to become a permanent initiative (i.e. an institution). It has worked on a two-year cycle; after the first two-year period (2013-14), members decided the initiative should be renewed for another one to two years, with a revised work programme and operating with annual budgets. The 2015-16 cycle is focusing on completion of tools begun in 2013-14, and on roll-out, awareness and adoption of these tools, emphasising internal uptake over external engagement (NGOs, consultants, academics, regulators, other sectors). Planning for any post-2016 activities will begin early that year.

3. CBSI’s Tools and Work Programme

What tools and products has CSBI produced?

In pursuit of its mission to provide leadership in developing and sharing good practice related to application of the mitigation hierarchy to biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) in the participating industries, CSBI has worked on three public tools, namely:

  1. Timeline Tool,
  2. Good Practices for the Collection of Biodiversity Baseline Data, and
  3. Cross-Sector Guide for Implementing the Mitigation Hierarchy.

The first was completed in 2013-14, while the latter two were launched in 2015.
Another tool is available to members only, which provides data on CSBI’s members’ skills and experience sets to assist in their professional exchange.

What is the Timeline Tool?

The Timeline Tool explains and graphically represents how impact prediction and management for BES occurs throughout the project development, construction, operation and closure processes for an oil, gas or mining project. It displays simultaneously:
i) The timeline and milestones for making decisions related to project finance,
ii) The timeline and milestones for technical development of an extractive project, and
iii) The timeline and milestones for collecting and analysing types and levels of BES data, conducting various levels of impact assessment and mitigation planning, and executing BES management across a project’s lifespan.
The Timeline Tool provides a roadmap in both text and graphic formats to permit identifying key milestones and interdependencies between project development and financing timelines, and the actions, coordination and timing required to apply the mitigation hierarchy effectively. It is not intended to be prescriptive, but to raise awareness of the operational challenges associated with BES impact mitigation.
The tool and a summary flyer are available from CSBI’s website.

What is the Baseline Biodiversity Data Collection Guidance?

This is a practical guide on what ecological information is needed to inform biodiversity baseline assessments for extractive projects. The guidance summarizes good practices for biodiversity baseline studies that support biodiversity-inclusive impact assessment and management planning in ESIAs. It is based on a review and synthesis of various reports and guidance documents and is not intended to replace ESIA guidance, but rather to supplement it where biodiversity data needs are not adequately covered.
The guide is aimed at corporations, lenders, regulators and others involved in conducting environmental and social impact assessments. It was developed in partnership with the EBRD.
The tool and a summary flyer are available from CSBI’s website.

What is the Cross-Sector Guide for Implementing the Mitigation Hierarchy?

This guide provides practical guidance, typologies, innovative approaches and examples to support users to operationalise the mitigation hierarchy (consisting of avoidance, minimisation, restoration and offsetting impacts) for managing the potential impacts of extractive activities on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The Guide gives particular emphasis to the first two steps, avoidance and minimisation, on which relatively little guidance exists, while it points to existing resources for restoration and offsets. The Guide emphasises the transitions between phases, too, proposing typologies of avoidance and minimisation steps that help to think through the processes systematically.
The Guide does not specify which standards are to be applied (e.g. IFC Performance Standards, USEPA standards, European Union guidance, etc.), but are intended to be applicable to any context or set of standards in which the mitigation hierarchy is used. The guidance is intended for environmental professionals working in or with extractive industries and financial institutions, who are responsible for overseeing the application of the mitigation hierarchy to BES. However CSBI acknowledges that good practice in applying the mitigation hierarchy to biodiversity is more advanced than to ecosystem services, and the Guide therefore contains much more related to the former compared to the latter.
The Guide was prepared with significant input from CSBI members as well as review by environmental NGOs. The general professional public has been invited to use and comment on it over the coming year or two, at which time a revision might be undertaken based on practical experience applying it.
The tool and a summary flyer are available from CSBI’s website.

In which languages are CSBI’s tools available?

English is CSBI’s working language, and all tools are prepared first in English.
The Timeline Tool’s graphic has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish and Japanese.
The biodiversity baseline guidance will be made available in Spanish, with translation support by the Inter-American Development Bank.
CSBI has prepared briefs on the three tools, initially in French and Spanish (available from the website), with other languages planned.
CSBI welcomes members and non-members who wish to translate a particular tool to do so and share it with CSBI so that CSBI may make it generally available on its website after proofreading.

How are CSBI’s tools made available?

CSBI’s website is the primary mechanism for distributing its products to its members and the public. CSBI’s products may be distributed by the associations’ websites, via email and in other ways, but the initiative generally does not print hard copies of its products.

4. CSBI’s Standards and Commitments

Does CSBI commit to any particular standard?

No, CSBI is not in a position to make commitments on behalf of its membership. CSBI is a voluntary association of industry-leaders committed to developing and sharing best practice in BES management in certain extractive industries.

Do CSBI’s tools focus on IFC’s Performance Standard 6?

Not specifically. Although it was concerns about “PS6” that prompted many of CSBI’s members to come together in 2013 in the Initiative, the tools focus on best-practice processes for managing biodiversity and ecosystem services in the extractive and financial industries without specifying the specific standards to meet. In other words, an entity may apply whichever standards it chooses – IFC’s, US EPA’s, EBRD’s, European Union’s, South Australia’s, etc. – in the process of following CSBI’s tools.

Are members obliged to implement the tools developed by CSBI?

No. By their very nature, the tools are non-binding but point users towards possible solutions and industry-leading practice. It is up to individual member companies if and how they use the tools developed by the initiative.

Do CSBI members have a commitment to Net Positive Impact (NPI)?

No, it is up to each individual association or company to commit to NPI or make other public commitments to conservation like ‘no net loss’.

What is CSBI’s position on extractive activity in protected areas?

CSBI has no position on the issue. It is not CSBI’s role to take positions on these issues, which is a role the industry associations may choose to play. Rather, CSBI promotes information-sharing and develops best practice regarding BES management and application of the mitigation hierarchy, wherever a proposed project may be.

Do CSBI members have a no-go commitment for any category of area or situation?

CSBI has no position on ‘no-go’ commitments. It is not CSBI’s role to take positions on these issues, which is a role the industry associations may choose to play. Rather, CSBI promotes information-sharing and develops best practice regarding BES management and application of the mitigation hierarchy, wherever a proposed project may be.

Do CSBI members reject commitments about no-go areas or NPI?

No. Industry associations and/or individual companies with such positions maintain them. Furthermore CSBI’s (non-binding) mitigation hierarchy guidance acknowledges BBOP’s principle of limits to what can be offset, and thus implicitly that some types of impact could be categorically unacceptable. CSBI has promoted debate but not sought consensus whether this is the case and for what impacts.