Responsibility for existing operations

10. Responsibility for existing operations

Additional conservation actions that will leadto conservation benefits for the biodiversity element(s) triggering the KBA identification should be implemented to make up for the impacts generated by operations that started before the identification of the KBA or before these guidelines were issued. Impacts linked to extensions of the project and future operations should be managed according to the mitigation hierarchy and Guidelines 1 to 9.


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When there is the need to retrofit these (and other) best practices to operations that are already in existence, the major challenge is establishing a convincing business case for the implementation of mitigation measures when the operation already has its approval and license to operate in a certain way. When dealing with issues around the business case for KBA management, careful thinking is required to overcome views that the project is meeting its existing license conditions and therefore does not need to do anything more. The identification of a KBA at an existing site will increase exposure and reputational risk to a company. Business cases structured around reputation and social license to operate tend to carry weight for large to mid-size multinationals that have a corporate brand that can be leveraged as part of new project development. Smaller companies (often referred to as juniors) may work under different business models and therefore respond to different drivers. However, cases of poor environmental management can be heavily publicised and lead to difficulties in obtaining future contracts.

Case study: Identifying mining sites close to KBAs