Screening and due diligence

Our screening and due diligence support saves time and resources down the line, enabling avoidance of the most serious risks and efficiently focusing impact assessments

We support clients carry out due diligence to assess biodiversity and ecosystem services risks through a range of screening methods, baseline surveys and assessments.

Risk screening

We use a well-tested in-house method to screen for the presence of biodiversity or ecosystem services which may present risks for your project. This method combines global and local datasets with expert knowledge and produces a profile of the globally, regionally or nationally significant biodiversity potentially occurring in an area. More importantly, it demonstrate how these features might present regulatory, reputational or financial risks. Our risk screening services have been used by clients in the oil and gas, mining, renewables and financial sectors including Shell and Rio Tinto.

See our short industry briefing note on Biodiversity screening to find more about the advantages and approaches to suit your project.

Critical Habitat Assessment 

Identification of the presence of biodiversity features which qualify and area as Critical Habitat is a central component of aligning with IFC Performance Standard 6 (PS6). We have unparalleled experience in interpreting PS6 including the identification of Critical Habitat-qualifying features. We use a combination of desktop analysis, baseline survey interpretation, and consultation with our extensive network of expertise to understand whether Critical Habitat features might be present, and if they meet the thresholds defined in PS6.

We have carried out Critical Habitat Assessments for range of clients who have voluntarily chosen to align with the Performance Standard, or are subject to Performance Standard-linked finance requirements. This includes the first ever PS6 disclosed development at Oyu Tolgoi, a confidential oil and gas development in Central Asia, and the CBG mine in Guinea.

Baseline surveys

Risk-based baseline surveys which are well designed and interpreted are a fundamental step in any project cycle. Our advice on developing and implementing baseline surveys will provide you with the right information for identifying and managing risk successfully. Our support to the Oyu Tolgoi mine led to comprehensive baseline surveys of the status of Khulan. The surveys resulted in greatly improved understanding of the population size and distribution in the Gobi, contributing to lowering the species’ status on the IUCN Red List and higher quality information to guide management actions at the mine.

Ecosystem Services Assessment

Understanding the importance of ecosystem services for your development and predicting how a development project may affect services important to the people who rely on them is an essential part of operating an effective and responsible operation. We have worked with clients to identify priority ecosystem services, and develop actions to manage potential impacts. This is part of leading practice and to align with lender expectations. For example we carried out a PS6-aligned ecosystem services assessment for a confidential project in East Africa and are continuing to support the client to integrate the findings into the project management systems.

ESIA support

We work with trusted partners and consultancies to support the preparation of environmental and social impact assessments which meet current leading practice, including aligning with the IFC Performance Standards. Our science-informed approach ensures that ESHIAs include sufficient assessment of potential impacts to biodiversity and ecosystem services, and that mitigation measures are suitable to manage impacts and risks adequately.  We have contributed to ESIAs on several projects that have reached financial close including in Mongolia, Central Asia, and West Africa.