Biodiversity consultancy


Drilling wellpad, Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea

We work in that grey area where large scale industrial projects (such as oil & gas and mining developments) overlap with species and habitat sensitivities.

Louise Johnson is an independent biodiversity/environmental management specialist with 30 yrs experience working within and with the Extractives sector internationally. She specialises in integrating biodiversity management (in accordance with the mitigation hierarchy) in Category A higher risk industries such as oil & gas (construction, operation, pipelines) and mining sectors (feasibility, extraction, rail lines, port facilities).

Louise’s main focus currently is performing biodiversity and natural resource-related due diligence review and compliance monitoring on behalf of international Lenders on projects in Mozambique, Guinea, Uganda, Tanzania and Papua New Guinea.

Core specialisms:

  • Acting as Independent Expert on behalf of Lenders, reviewing major oil&gas/mining projects in their implementation of IFC Performance Standards 6 & 1 – through risk review, due diligence audit and compliance monitoring for the duration of the loan.
    • Focus areas: ecological management, monitoring/evaluation, biodiversity offset design & implementation, ecosystem service preservation, reinstatement/regeneration, invasive species management, induced access mitigation, and supply chain.
  • Assessing a project’s implementation of the mitigation hierarchy with regard to avoidance and management of impacts on biodiversity and natural resources, including systematic attainment of good industry practice at appropriate levels and project phases (Pre-Feasibility, Exploration, Production Operations and Decommissioning).
  • Advising projects wherever wildlife, wilderness and development interact, seeking to avoid adverse consequences wherever feasible.

We’ve worked with, and on behalf of, a variety of lending institutions, conservation NGOs, responsible businesses and government agencies, on a range of projects at global, national and site levels.

Consultancy projects include:

  • Independent Biodiversity Expert on behalf of Lenders, via field audit and desktop review:
    • Moyen Bafing Biodiversity Offset Program (in parallel with National Park establishment), setup phase review against Lender requirements and best practice, GAC & CBG (Guinea).
    • Total Energies EACOP pipeline project (onshore & terminal), performing Due Diligence review against Lender requirements (Uganda & Tanzania).
    • Total Energies Mozambique LNG E&P project (onshore/nearshore), performing Due Diligence and compliance monitoring against Lender requirements (Mozambique).
    • Guinea Alumina Corporation’s bauxite mine development at Boké (mine site, reservoir/dam, rail/road and port), Due Diligence review and ongoing compliance monitoring against Lender requirements (Guinea).
    • Exxon Mobil’s PNG LNG E&P project (onshore production, onshore/offshore pipeline, onshore terminal), assessing construction & production phase compliance against Lender requirements ( Papua New Guinea ).

      Community dialogue session, Papua New Guinea

    • ExxonMobil and ENI’s Rovuma LNG E&P project (onshore, nearshore), Due Diligence review (Mozambique).
    • Review of the Bujagali HEP refinancing biodiversity management against updated IFC 2012 Performance Standards (Uganda)
    • Newmont Ahafo South gold mining project (mine site reservoir/dam), assessing compliance against Lender requirements (Ghana).
  • Development of HSE framework and fisheries program risk assessment (Myanmar)
  • Critique of offshore Rigs to Reef programs (NE Atlantic)
  • Project management of biodiversity studies related to the Pre-Feasibility and Feasibility stages of the Glencore-Xstrata Zanaga iron ore mining project, including management of: ecological baseline field-surveys; compilation of sensitivity analyses relating mine/rail/port impacts on biodiversity; initial assessment of impact mitigation hierarchy and biodiversity offset planning; establishing a pilot bushmeat study; and developing wildlife/habitat impact monitoring programmes (Republic of Congo).
  • Development of model Terms of Reference protocols to establish EIA and SEA best practice, focusing on direct/indirect impacts on biodiversity from major industrial developments (Gabon).
  • Co-Author/Lead Consultant engaged to develop the ‘BBOP Standard on Biodiversity Offsets’, Chair of the BBOP Assurance Working Group, development of assurance evaluation & verification protocols, trialling with BBOP pilot sites (Global).
  • Principal consultant leading an independent review & evaluation of various Ugandan oil development EIAs, to assess progress made in addressing biodiversity and wider environmental impacts (follow-up to my 2006 review); recommendations for additional improvement and capacity building (Uganda).

Mozambique fishing community near LNG site

  • Technical review of environmental and conservation impacts from soda ash production (Tanzania).
  • Development and provision of training courses and workshops on Uganda EIA practice and the oil & gas industry: for local & central government agency staff & EIA practitioners; multi-stakeholder workshop to scope the Oil SEA; and workshops to improve civil society engagement with the EIA process (Uganda).
  • Development and production of interactive DVD training tool to build capacity of wildlife conservation & environmental professionals in responsible oil/gas development (Africa & S. America).
  • Establishment of a long-term mechanism to evaluate and monitor how environmental impacts from oil/gas & mining developments are managed, and how civil society is engaged in the process. Established and evaluated the current baseline for future trend assessment (Madagascar, Uganda, East-African Marine Eco-region).
  • Implementation of US-AID funded Oil Impacts Management programme focussing on raising capacity of civil society and govt. agencies to minimise impacts on wildlife and communities; encouraging good practice and relationship-building between government, business & conservation NGOs; sensitivity atlas initiation; plus exploring initial biodiversity offset opportunities (Uganda).
  • Principle consultant undertaking independent review of initial EIAs & energy-related impacts; led site reconnaissance fieldtrips for key government agency & NGO staff; provision of EIA training to statutory authorities & NGO’s (biodiversity & environmental impacts, mitigation & monitoring) (Uganda).
  • Co-managed basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) research project on large-scale multi-year summer surveys, determining hotspots, distribution baseline and trends. Logistical management and coordination of volunteer-based research via effort-corrected transects and observation of species in-situ; identification of potential impacts to sharks and their habitat; navigation, charter planning, coordination of volunteer tasks and data management; photography, film and photo-identification (Scotland).
  • Editorial review of ‘Making Blue Energy Green’, IUCN Guidance for the offshore renewable energy industry, managing offshore marine environmental risks (Global ).
  • Supporting the ongoing development of The WiSe Scheme, the UK eco-tourism standard in training & accreditation mechanisms for minimising impacts from marine wildlife-watching; development of independent evaluation and assessment processes (UK).
  • Performed commissioned research into opportunities for developing partnerships for managing the environmental aspects of the commercial and leisure marine sector (UK).
  • SEA Steering Group member of both the UK and Irish ‘Offshore Energy Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)’ government groups, guiding the licensing of offshore blocks. Provided expert assessment and formal review of the Offshore SEAs and the government process (Ireland & UK).
  • OSPAR Offshore Industries Committee (OIC) representative – official observer rep. for marine environmental protection in the North East Atlantic. Focus on minimising impacts from climate change & ocean acidification, carbon capture storage approaches, chemicals discharge, cuttings disposal & produced water (Atlantic/North Sea)
  • General: Authored works on energy environmental impact analyses (oil/gas, offshore renewable, mining, geothermal, hydropower), climate change impacts and biodiversity offsets in the marine environment, CO2 capture and storage in geological reservoirs, oil & gas industry best-practice, and SEA.