AECOM was featured at The Straits Times, Singapore’s leading daily broadsheet, as Ash Welch, our senior consultant and biodiversity specialist, was interviewed for his groundbreaking work on the Singapore Biodiversity Accounting Metric. This innovative tool, co-developed with biodiversity consultancy Camphora Pte. Ltd., and supported by the Economic Development Board, quantifies the direct potential impact on biodiversity of development projects. The feature highlighted Ash’s efforts to bridge the gap between development, and ecological preservation and nature restoration, with the aim of encouraging sustainable practices within the construction industry.

The Singapore Biodiversity Accounting Metric, accessible through this link, addresses the challenge of assessing environmental impact objectively and quantifiably. By assigning numerical values to habitats, green and blue spaces, the tool calculates the potential biodiversity loss caused by planned construction projects. This approach serves as a powerful incentive for developers to make informed decisions that prioritize conservation while minimizing ecological disruptions, and even encouraging the development to achieve a ‘net gain’ in biodiversity.

The tool is designed to be used at a project’s master planning stage or alongside environmental impact assessments and field surveys. At present, it can calculate the values of terrestrial, freshwater and intertidal habitats.

In the feature, Ash shared, “The metric incentivizes you to try and put back as much [nature]as you can to get a better score. There will be projects here that will have a 10 percent net loss in biodiversity…and it’s better than a 50 percent net loss. Biodiversity accounting assessments encourage us to break down the complexity of nature and allow us to make better decisions that the average person would have otherwise been unaware of.”

The feature also shared how AECOM recently tested the metric on a 48-hectare site in the Greater Southern Waterfront, set for housing development. The tool indicated a 10 percent net gain in biodiversity through conservation and ecological enhancement efforts, notably protecting high-value habitats like mangroves and native forests. By preserving these areas and incorporating green corridors, the project demonstrates how development can contribute positively to nature and ecological connectivity.

Beyond Singapore, Ash and his team aim to eventually create a similar tool for the whole Southeast Asia. By standardizing biodiversity assessments, tools such as the biodiversity accounting metric aim to facilitate more informed decisions and sustainable development practices across the region.

To read the full article on The Straits Times, click here.