About us

Coastal and marine biodiversity specialists providing advice to address risks, making connections, building capacity and supporting research and conservation

We provide global advisory services to manage risks to coastal and marine biodiversity. We work with companies, governments and other organisations to deliver approaches that make sense for people, business and the environment. Our aim is to understand and address the important issues with respect to development and provide long-term strategic and project level solutions to address these. To support our work we create new approaches that provide simple solutions to complex issues and standardise advice wherever possible. We deliver our advice using our global network of advisors connected to local experts to deliver the best advice.

We create opportunities for improving knowledge and to build capacity for the protection of coastal and marine biodiversity and to ensure a long-term legacy from project activities for local people and the environment.  Part of our mission is to tackle priorities for the protection of coastal and marine biodiversity and to build local capacity in a way that connects with local communities. We do this by developing new simple scalable approaches for research, providing training and developing local connections for the long-term management of biodiversity aspects for projects. We also fund conservation for projects that are aligned with our core aims wherever possible using profits from our advisory services.

Our project footprint

Our project footprint

Advisory Services

Using our consultancy experience, focused expertise, tools and scientific networks to address risks to business and biodiversity

Our recent projects

More on advisory services below

Our focus

We have a deep understanding of the risks to coastal and marine biodiversity and how to address them. We understand the science, but also business needs; and provide balanced advice to create the best outcomes.

The Reason for our Focus

Over 70% of the planet is covered by the oceans and seas; and these areas create a very large coastal interface with land. These zones are under considerable threat from habitat destruction and disturbance from human activities, pollution and marine debris, invasive species, climate change and exploitation of natural capital resources etc.

Threats and the erosion of biodiversity internationally have led to significant conservation protection approaches, adoption of environmental laws, creation of best practice environmental safeguard standards and development of guidance for implementing management measures across the Mitigation Hierarchy. Important progress has also been made with broader policies, including, AICHI targets and UN Sustainable Development Goals. New Natural Capital accounting procedures are also making progress to mainstream biodiversity in decision-making. In response, businesses and governments seek to manage their impacts and are also increasingly committing to delivering No Net Loss and Net Positive Impact policies and actions for biodiversity. As an organisation, we are fully committed to supporting the delivery of these policies and goals.

Even with all of this effort significant risks remain and considerable effort is required to work with businesses, governments and other organisations to address them. This is what we seek to tackle with our advisory services.

Our Approach

Our approach forms a complete coastal and marine biodiversity advisory framework, providing our clients with the experience, knowledge, tools, data management portals, expert networks and capacity building support. Our Framework for Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Advisory Services can be viewed and downloaded here. This shows how our services are provided at a strategic level and also across project timelines.

  • Specialism: Focus on coastal and marine biodiversity and certain geographic areas to provide a deep understanding of issues and how best to address them
  • Funding: Leading approaches that fully conform to International Finance Institution environment and social safeguard standards to bring access to project finance. Strong relationships with environmental and social evaluation teams across multiple International Finance Institutions
  • Getting a permit: Proven history of delivering assessments and the permitting of projects internationally. Proven working relationships with local consultancies that lead in-country permitting across many regions
  • Getting the job done: Low-maintenance operation in challenging environments internationally using standardised best practice approaches
  • Reducing risks: Expertise to forecast risks to business and biodiversity and provision of tools to support screening and rapid assessment of biodiversity issues. Provision of an expert panel and elicitation techniques to provide good precautionary judgement where data are poor
  • Delivering on the Mitigation Hierarchy: Introducing the Mitigation Hierarchy in project planning and in the delivery of projects – with specific emphasis on early actions to promote avoidance wherever possible as this can often make most sense for business and biodiversity
  • Reducing the cost of data: Understanding data weaknesses and providing innovative tools and approaches that deliver rapid assessment to address data gaps at low cost. Access to in-house information in data poor areas and providing connections to local researchers across the globe who hold local knowledge
  • Reducing duplication:  Providing standardised approaches for biodiversity management  for commonly encountered issues to avoid duplicative costs in preparation of reports
  • Introducing the bigger picture: Introducing ‘bigger picture’ thinking that takes account of long term business and biodiversity risks rather than focus on short term project goals.
  • Access to the right people: A global network of research experts to provide international and local support to project studies
  • Action planning: Experienced in developing Marine Biodiversity Action/Management Plans across all steps of the Mitigation Hierarchy –  understanding how best to manage issues in a pragmatic way that works on the ground
  • Capacity building: Technical client-side project management support and training of internal staff to manage biodiversity issues
  • Corporate commitments: Integrating biodiversity in strategic corporate management and decision-making to improve performance and reduce business risks and costs. Help to define and deliver corporate policy to protect biodiversity, such as the implementation of No Net Loss and Net Positive Impact
  • Building enduring project legacies: Build local capacity and use local networks to sustain skills with a focus on creating a long term connection of local communities with the management of biodiversity – delivering education and creating livelihood opportunities
  • CSR: Support implementation of CSR initiatives by providing examples and links to local programmes that ensure the long term successful delivery of actions
  • Supporting project implementation: We can provide ongoing support to implement actions for project delivery on the ground by providing ongoing technical advice, supporting tendering processes, organising delivery of actions, working with local companies and researchers that are engaged to implement biodiversity work, providing third party review, and by building internal or external capacity. We can implant our experts into client operations or external project teams, mentor and provide partners to support work using our international networks that deliver the best and most cost effective approaches
  • Specialism: Focused technical expertise in specific geographic areas that is not held in-house to support project studies
  • Funding: Leading approaches that fully conform to International Finance Institutions environment and social safeguard standards to ensure best practice delivery to client projects. Support relationships with safeguard and evaluation teams across multiple International Finance Institutions for biodiversity themes
  • Getting a permit: Proven history of delivering biodiversity assessments for permitted projects internationally
  • Getting the job done: Low-maintenance autonomous operation in challenging environments using standardised best practice approaches
  • Reducing risks: Expertise to forecast risks to business and biodiversity and provision of tools to support screening and rapid assessment of biodiversity issues. Provision of an expert panel and elicitation techniques to provide good precautionary judgement where data are poor
  • Delivering on the Mitigation Hierarchy. Introduce the Mitigation Hierarchy in project planning and delivery of measures strategically and for biodiversity – with specific emphasis on early actions to promote avoidance wherever possible as this can often make most sense for business and biodiversity
  • Reducing the cost of data: Understanding data weaknesses and providing innovative tools and approaches that deliver rapid assessment to address data gaps at low cost. Access to in-house information in data poor areas and providing connections to local researchers across the globe who hold local knowledge
  • Cost effective service: Lower costs for the use of senior technical experts on projects than may be possible using internal resources
  • Access to the right people: A global network of research experts to provide international and local support to project studies. Provision of links to local consultancies that lead in-country permitting across many regions
  • Action planning: Experience in developing Marine Biodiversity Action/Management Plans across all steps of the Mitigation Hierarchy –  understanding how best to manage issues in a pragmatic way that works on the ground
  • Value added support for delivering project legacies: Build local capacity and use local networks to sustain skills with a focus on creating a long term connection of local communities with the management of biodiversity – delivering education and creating livelihood opportunities
  • Capacity building: Access to tools and approaches to support the review of reports and client studies. Training in the understanding of biodiversity issues with respect to development and how to manage them
  • Guiding development: Providing standardised approaches for biodiversity management  for commonly encountered issues to act as a national framework of what is required for development
  • Funding: Leading approaches that fully conform to International Finance Institute environment and social safeguard standards to bring access to project finance for government led projects
  • Specialism: Focus on the coastal and marine biodiversity providing a deep understanding of issues and how best to address them
  • Managing development: Expertise to forecast risks to business and biodiversity and provision of tools to support screening and rapid assessment of biodiversity issues across wide areas.
  • Third Party Review: Provision of third party review to support permit decision-making and engagement with developers and consultants
  • Spatial Planning: Knowledge, experience and network of advisors to deliver effective coastal spatial planning advice to promote sustainable management in an integrated way
  • Building enduring project legacies: Build local capacity and use local networks to sustain skills with a focus on creating a long term connection of local communities with the management of biodiversity – delivering education and creating livelihood opportunities
  • Compliance review: Supporting project due diligence and compliance reviews
  • Specialism: Providing access to our network of professionals who are acknowledged experts and will add value to the work of International Finance Institution clients and their projects alike
  • Guidance: Development of up-to-date best practice guidance and providing access to our tools and approaches to support the review of reports and client studies
  • Policy: Using our experience of biodiversity policy and strategic issues that relate to environmental and social safeguards to shape strategies and approaches to support clients
  • Standards: Use our deep technical understanding to support the update of standards that address biodiversity
  • Tools: Access to tools and approaches to support compliance review and client studies
  • Building enduring project legacies: Build local capacity and use local networks to sustain skills with a focus on creating a long term connection of local communities with the management of biodiversity – delivering education and creating livelihood opportunities
  • Capacity building: Access to tools and approaches to support the review of reports and client studies. Training of internal staff, client and project consultants in assessing biodiversity issues and how to manage them in a way that follows best practice approaches
  • Supporting project implementation: We can provide ongoing support to implement actions for project delivery on the ground by providing ongoing technical advice, supporting tendering processes, organising delivery of actions, working with local companies and researchers that are engaged to implement biodiversity work, providing third party review, and by building internal or external capacity. We can implant our experts into client operations or external project teams, mentor and provide partners to support work using our international networks that deliver the best and most cost effective approaches
  • Problem management: Providing senior experienced specialist advice to address problems as they arise at any stage of a project’s implementation
  • Funding: Presenting opportunities for joined-up research and management approaches using our simple scalable tools
  • Capacity building: Training of internal staff and local communities for research and management
  • Information sharing: Management and presentation of data
  • Connecting with business: Opportunity to link knowledge, research and conservation approaches with businesses to meet aligned aims
  • Building enduring project legacies: Providing the links to support our programmes that seek to build local capacity to create a long term connection of local communities with the management of biodiversity – delivering education and creating livelihood opportunities

Sectors

We have provided advice across various types of infrastructure projects internationally, but historically have had a focus on the following sectors.

Ports and Harbours

We have a focus on supporting international port projects. Our services and approaches all align with the aim of supporting studies required for this sector. We have experience in supporting large-scale port developments internationally; and we have clients such as APM Terminals and Anaklia Development Consortium in our international Project portfolio.

Oil and Gas

We provide consultancy services for upstream O&G developments in West and East Africa. We provide technical support to large multi-national engineering environmental companies or direct to client. Our technical support has supported large O&G producers in the implementation of their IFC level projects in Kenya and Mozambique. We also work for seismic operators to deliver full ESIA studies in Africa. Our services and approaches all align with the aim of supporting studies that are required for this sector.

Renewables

Our Managing Director, Neil Cousins, has been involved in delivering offshore wind farm studies in the UK dating back to 1999. Neil has had a key role in the delivery of marine studies for the first offshore wind farm to be consented in the UK; and also the identification of industry-wide studies that were implemented by COWRIE. In addition, Neil had led the ESIA delivery of one of the first consented offshore wind farms in Hong Kong.  As well as offshore wind farm studies, Neil has had the lead role for delivering the ESIA for the first onshore wind farm consented in Oman.

Other Infrastructure Development

We have been engaged on UK and international environmental studies for a wide range of other coastal and marine infrastructure projects, including: submarine cables and pipelines, dredging and disposal, coastal hinterland development schemes (mixed use, tourism, industrial), coastal defence, desalination, wastewater treatment and disposal, coastal habitat creation, shoreline management and protected areas management etc.

Ports and Harbours

We have a focus on supporting international port projects. Our services and approaches all align with the aim of supporting studies required for this sector. We have experience in supporting large-scale port developments internationally; and we have clients such as APM Terminals and Anaklia Development Consortium in our international Project portfolio.

Oil and Gas

We provide consultancy services for upstream O&G developments in West and East Africa. We provide technical support to large multi-national engineering environmental companies or direct to client. Our technical support has supported large O&G producers in the implementation of their IFC level projects in Kenya and Mozambique. We also work for seismic operators to deliver full ESIA studies in Africa. Our services and approaches all align with the aim of supporting studies that are required for this sector.

Renewables

Our Managing Director, Neil Cousins, has been involved in delivering offshore wind farm studies in the UK dating back to 1999. Neil has had a key role in the delivery of marine studies for the first offshore wind farm to be consented in the UK; and also the identification of industry-wide studies that were implemented by COWRIE. In addition, Neil had led the ESIA delivery of one of the first consented offshore wind farms in Hong Kong.  As well as offshore wind farm studies, Neil has had the lead role for delivering the ESIA for the first onshore wind farm consented in Oman.

Other Infrastructure Development

We have been engaged on UK and international environmental studies for a wide range of other coastal and marine infrastructure projects, including: submarine cables and pipelines, dredging and disposal, coastal hinterland development schemes (mixed use, tourism, industrial), coastal defence, desalination, wastewater treatment and disposal, coastal habitat creation, shoreline management and protected areas management etc.

What people say about us

“Collaborating with Neil Cousins on his ESIA studies in West Africa has been a very positive experience for Ocean Ecology Network and its local project partners. His company has a conscience. Neil Cousins’  sense of responsibility towards the  people and projects he works with, his straightforward and professional approach, along with his efforts to support local community projects that enhance marine conservation, all make working with them a very rewarding experience.”

Manjula Tiwari Ph.D.

President, Ocean Ecology Network, Inc., USA. Lead scientist in NOAA

“Neil Cousins and his team supported URS on a major ESIA, undertaking marine mammal and sea turtle surveys and providing input to mitigation and management plans for a major infrastructure port project in Gabon. The team were highly professional at all times, worked efficiently and self-sufficiently in the field, and produced very high quality reporting. They also went the extra mile in a number of areas, providing ad hoc advice and input to the wider project as needed. I would definitely engage with them again on projects in the UK or overseas.”

Kerry Whalley CEnv MCIWEM

Associate Environment Specialist. URS Infrastructure & Environment UK Limited

“Neil Cousins was commissioned to provide marine ecology support to our EIA, specifically assessing impacts to marine mammals and local turtle populations. As PM for the larger project it was my first experience working with Neil and I have since approached his company to collaborate on other potential projects. The team were very professional and efficient in conducting their surveys, and provided a report which was not only excellent, but useable and informative. It was refreshing to have their skills and knowledge at my disposal, trusting in them as the experts to deliver on what is required. They were “low maintenance” to work with and I was delighted to see that Neil had used the project to contribute to constructing a water pump at their own expense for a local community as they continue to develop these relationships with locals.”

Andrew Husted MSc

United Kingdom Operations Manager. Digby Wells International

“CH2M recently collaborated with Neil Cousins in the preparation of a comprehensive water and sediment quality and biodiversity survey plan for a major oil and gas client in East Africa. Neil was extremely responsive, knowledgeable and demonstrated a solid understanding of the project requirements, international legislation as well as marine and sediment quality survey sampling strategies and analytical methods. For a fast turnaround project, Neil prepared deliverables to a very high quality and helped CH2M meet a challenging deadline. Neil was great to work with and his collaborative work ethic was refreshing”.

Rossana Bosi

Project Manager - CH2M, Italy

“We have worked with Neil Cousins on a sea turtle survey in Nigeria. Neil had an excellent and brisk approach to business, which makes them very easy and efficient to work with. They have excellent team of experts, great team working skills, team management and field skills and we enjoyed working with them so much. Their highpoints include great work plans, innovative approach to field work, effective risk assessment/prevention, prompt work/report delivery, excellent logistics and excellent follow up on projects.”

Mojisola Adegbile

Scientist at the Nigeria Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research

“I have worked with Neil Cousins to conduct sea turtle surveys for an ESIA process in Ghana. I was very impressed with their scientific and cost-efficient approach to resource conservation and impact assessment/mitigation. I have not yet worked with any institution that is so concerned about the safety of his team. Neil Cousins’ prompt responses to providing what his team needs in the field to be safe and work effectively only depicts the great integrity and high calibre of institutional structures that exist within the company. It is very touching how much Neil always has the welfare of the local communities at heart by supporting community projects that solve a need of the people. At their own expense they built a community centre for a fishing community that couldn’t undertake the much needed project due to financial constraints. The opportunity to work with Neil has indeed been a great experience and I will be happy to work with them again in future.”

Andrews Agyekumhene, M.Phil

Park Manager, Ghana Wildlife Division

“Neil Cousins was commissioned to undertake the marine ecology impact assessment and critical habitat assessment to IFC Performance Standard 6 as part of an ESIA for an oil and gas project in Kenya. The team were very professional and flexible to the demands of the project. Despite challenges in relation to data collection, the team were able to draw on their extensive knowledge of the area to scope the ESIA. They were also proactive in promoting the inclusion of local specialist organisations to assist in the future delivery of the assessment, in particular baseline surveys. Neil was prompt in the delivery of work and responding to comments and queries; and their reporting was of a consistently high quality.”

Katie Prebble, MCIWEM, AIEMA, CEnv

Registered EIA Practitioner. Principal Environmental Scientist, Atkins

Knowledge chain

Delivering a strategy to provide the best available information and expertise by connecting international and local experts

Effective development decision-making must be informed by good advice. It requires scientific understanding and knowledge of business needs to answer questions that development raises in a way that makes sense across the board. Our approach brings a blend of international and localised delivery which is essential for providing the best advice in the most cost effective way.

Building long-term local project legacy forms a key strand across best practice environmental and social safeguards and normally forms a government development goal. It’s a philosophy that sits at our core as we aim to help our clients to receive world class advice whilst maximising local content and promoting a long term impact. We do this to find the best outcomes for business and biodiversity.

What is happening?

Many projects require local content in the delivery of environmental studies. However, often consultancy contracts are awarded to international organisations that are not present locally or work is transferred to overseas offices. Whilst there may be a focus on local engagement for short term tasks there is often no strategy for developing capacity for broader longer term goals.

There is often a lack of engagement of the research and conservation community with developers and consultants, which can limit effective information sharing and delivery of the best knowledge to support the delivery and management of infrastructure projects. This can be due to the modes of engagement, perceptions or tribalism. Consultancy businesses may focus internalising service delivery to maximise gains, but the best team cannot usually be held within one organisation.  Linked to this, in many places that we work data may be available, but not easily accessible. If the people who hold this information are not known or not engaged in studies this often leads to a reduced understanding of issues and how best to approach the execution of project studies and implementation of longer term management and monitoring approaches.

Why is it a problem?

All of the above issues reduce the potential for the best advice and most informed decisions to be made to protect the environment; and therefore, increases development risks and hampers the implementation of the most effective approaches. It can lead to a long-term dependency on international support for projects – parachuting in advice and the draining of opportunity for local capacity building and limiting the establishment of local stewardship of environmental values that often leads to the best results and for creating economic gains for local business and people.

How do we help to solve it?

Our specific coastal and marine biodiversity niche and access to international expertise allows us to lead studies providing the best advice, but also to build capacity of our partners where it is needed. We seek to provide a Knowledge Chain – not only on a project basis, but for long term impact.

We promote delivery of project work using local content wherever possible – providing our technical advice and building capacity, but also connecting our international and local networks to access information and sustain skills. Local content is about building local opportunity, engagement and legacy; and using the best available local information to support project studies. This is what we believe in at Bluedot and it forms the framework of how we seek to deliver our work.

We also understand that the best results occur when we embrace collaboration and share information. Our organisational model seeks to bring in the best expertise rather than internalising services – operating as a bridge linking between consultancy, conservation researchers, governments and infrastructure developers. Through our focus we also have access to local information across many regions from our links to international and local researchers, which may not be routinely available. Our international network has been built from connections made from our previous project work, but also through links made from our activities in the conservation and research sector where we have built trust in our approach.

Knowledge Chain

Bluedot Advisors

Introducing the Bluedot advisors who provide specialism, act as an expert panel, expand our outreach, collaborate to develop new approaches, and provide the experience to support our capacity building efforts.

Neil Cousins is the founder and Managing Director of Bluedot Associates Ltd. He has 20 years’ international experience of delivering biodiversity assessments and wider ESIA studies for coastal and marine infrastructure projects. He also has extensive experience of undertaking Integrated Coastal Zone Management and marine spatial planning studies at a regional and country level internationally. He is also active in supporting conservation research globally, with a specific focus in Africa. He has been resident working as a senior environmental scientist in the UK, Hong Kong and Oman; and has worked in over 27 countries across Africa, Middle East, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.  He has delivered studies for offshore wind farms, submarine cables and pipelines, ports and harbour developments, dredging and disposal, upstream offshore oil and gas projects, coastal hinterland development schemes, coastal defence, adapting to climate change impacts, coastal habitat creation, catchment flood management, shoreline management and protected areas management etc. As well as being employed in consultancy and government sectors, he has worked in an academic environment for numerous years. He currently acts a visiting lecturer at Swansea University, Exeter University and the University of West England. He also delivers international capacity building related to coastal and marine biodiversity and impact assessment.

Neil Cousins is the founder and Managing Director of Bluedot Associates Ltd. He has 20 years’ international experience of delivering biodiversity assessments and wider ESIA studies for coastal and marine infrastructure projects. He also has extensive experience of undertaking Integrated Coastal Zone Management and marine spatial planning studies at a regional and country level internationally. He is also active in supporting conservation research globally, with a specific focus in Africa. He has been resident working as a senior environmental scientist in the UK, Hong Kong and Oman; and has worked in over 27 countries across Africa, Middle East, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.  He has delivered studies for offshore wind farms, submarine cables and pipelines, ports and harbour developments, dredging and disposal, upstream offshore oil and gas projects, coastal hinterland development schemes, coastal defence, adapting to climate change impacts, coastal habitat creation, catchment flood management, shoreline management and protected areas management etc. As well as being employed in consultancy and government sectors, he has worked in an academic environment for numerous years. He currently acts a visiting lecturer at Swansea University, Exeter University and the University of West England. He also delivers international capacity building related to coastal and marine biodiversity and impact assessment.

Our Associate Advisors

Mark King has acted as the Chief Environmental and Social Standards Officer at the World Bank. Previously he was engaged in senior leadership roles within the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). He has a natural sciences background with a strong focus on the biological sciences; and as such, he sits on the Multilateral Financial Institutions Biodiversity Working Group. He has over 30 years’ of experience in assessing and managing the environmental, health and social risks and impacts associated with equity investments (including OTC), fungible/non-fungible debt, bonds, guarantees, insurance and leasing products. He has worked on development projects in a wide range of sectors and countries for both the public and private sectors.  These projects range from micro, small and medium enterprise lending to mega-projects in the extractives, transport and energy sectors. He has led the review and revision of the World Bank’s safeguard policies. The International Association of Impact Assessment awarded the Bank its 2017 Global Award in recognition of this achievement and he was awarded two vice-presidential awards within the Bank. With an aptitude for teaching and capacity building, he has also made significant contributions to building competencies in environmental, health, safety and social management in a variety of companies, financial institutions and government agencies.

Manjula Tiwari is a Conservation Scientist with NOAA’s Marine Turtle Ecology and Assessment Program in La Jolla, California. Her first sea turtle project in 1991 was a survey of the remote beaches of the Nicobar Islands, and the adventures and challenges of working with sea turtles at these remote beaches set the theme for many of her future projects. She earned her Master’s degree and PhD from the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida. Manjula collaborates with sea turtle projects around the world, and her primary projects and research address a wide range of topics from nesting beach ecology to the impact of fisheries on sea turtle populations in many countries – western Africa (from Morocco to Namibia), the Middle East (Oman), Asia (Cambodia, Myanmar), and the western Pacific (Papua, Indonesia & the Solomon Islands) to name a few. Manjula also serves as a Scientific and Technical Advisor to many projects funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Marine Turtle Conservation Fund. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the African Sea Turtle Newsletter, President of Ocean Ecology Network Inc., Advisory Committee member to the Indian Ocean Southeast Asia Memorandum of Understanding, Secretary of the International Sea Turtle Society, and serves as a Chair or Advisor on many international committees.

Brendan Godley is a conservation scientist with wide ranging interests in biodiversity research. His research largely focuses on the study of marine vertebrates (sea turtles, mammals, birds and sharks). He has acted as the Director for the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter and he now leads the University’s marine strategy. He co-ordinates the Marine Turtle Research Group, which enables the undertaking of a wide range of projects aimed at unlocking the secrets of marine turtle ecology; many relevant to conservation. This has involved fieldwork in Ascension Island, British Virgin Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Cayman Islands, Congo, Guinea Bissau, Montserrat, Northern Cyprus, Turkey and the USA. He is a member of a range of committees and IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group and Sustainable Use Specialist Groups. He also sits on a number of editorial boards for publications that cover marine biodiversity issues.

Rob Evans is a conservation ecologist with a Masters in Agricultural Science and an MBA focussed on Corporate Environmental & Social Governance.  He brings over 30 years’ of experience of designing and delivering major environmental, sustainability and climate change programmes across the world, and brings particular insight into delivering sustainable finance where it is most needed.  Rob has been a senior advisor to such major programmes as the Panama Canal Expansion, the Yamal LNG project in Northern Russia, the Heart of Borneo Initiative in Kalimantan, and the Songo Songo pipeline in Tanzania and is a regular advisor to the EBRD, World Bank, IFC and Equator Principles Banks.  The former lead advisor for PwC in Indonesia, Rob has also worked on sustainable supply chain issues with the likes of SEDEX, WEF the RSPO and the Cambridge Program for Sustainable Leadership.  Rob has also worked with the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield and helped found the carbon-reduction charity Carbon Leapfrog.

Caroline Weir is a marine mammal scientist who has conducted visual and acoustic studies of free-ranging cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) since 1995. Her research interests focus primarily on the distribution and ecology of cetacean communities, but additionally include photo-identification work (abundance, movements and social structure), research into cetacean acoustic behaviour, anthropogenic impacts on cetacean species and environmental compliance relating to marine mammals (for example Marine Protected Areas and mitigation guidelines for minimising human impacts). She has carried out marine mammal survey and consultancy work for many organisations including universities, NGOs, government regulators, the marine renewable industry, and the oil and gas industry. In the last decade she was specialised in the cetaceans occurring along the west coast of Africa and in the Falkland Islands. She is an invited member of the IUCN-SSC Cetacean Specialist Group and the CMS Scientific Council’s Aquatic Mammals Working Group (AMWG).

Claire Bryant is an established sustainability leader with significant experience in environmental and social impact measurement and developing and implementing sustainability strategy, policy and standards in an international environment. With over 16 years’ international experience, much in the maritime sector, her specific areas of capability include sustainability/social/environmental strategy development and performance management; environmental and socio-economic impact assessments and permitting; ESG for investments; and internal processes, organization and governance. Claire has trained and worked as a marine and coastal ecologist, led projects and teams for multi-national environmental & engineering consultancies, and worked as the Global Head of Sustainability & Environment at APM Terminals, part of the A.P. Moller Maersk Group. Claire currently provides independent sustainability, strategy and communications support to Cargill and acts as a strategic advisor the Smart Freight Centre, working towards an efficient and environmentally sustainable logistics sector.

Andrew Cooke has over 35 years’ experience in legal practice, marine conservation and environmental consultancy. He has a specific focus in delivering studies in in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar and West Africa, but his experience extends to the East Africa and Pacific regions. From 1998-2002, he was employed by FAO acting as a technical adviser to Madagascar’s marine & coastal environment program. In 2002, he established the Madagascar-based environmental consultancy firm Resolve, specialising in marine conservation, environmental impact assessment and environmental policy. In this role he led a national evaluation of community-based management, prepared submissions to UNESCO for two new biosphere reserves, developed procedures for marine protected area creation and conducted an assessment of regulatory frameworks and institutional capacity for ‘No Net Loss / Net gain’ of biodiversity in relation to investment projects and programs.  He has been involved in the design, implementation or evaluation of all four of Africa’s Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) programs, working with various UN agencies. He has developed a world-leading biodiversity offsets program in association with BBOP (Business & Biodiversity Offsets Program), winning the Nedbank Sustainable Business Award in 2014; and was on the Executive Committee of the Business BBOP, serving as Chair between 2014 and 2015. Since 2015 he has been a Council Member for the Foundation for Protected Areas and Biodiversity of Madagascar (FAPBM) and is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Shark specialists group.

Lindsay Seiderer (Muffy) has had a lifelong interest in the assessment of the effects of disturbance on the marine environment. Much of her work, during a 25 year tenure at a UK marine survey consultancy that she co-founded, has revolved around the design and implementation of surveys to provide robust data during all phases of major marine infrastructure projects. Her interest remains in the design of programmes to assess the spatial and temporal effects of disturbance on the seabed, and the extent to which the disturbed communities are likely to recover. A natural progression has led onto recent work on the appraisal of insurance liabilities to assist in the resolution of environmental damages claims. Her work in this sector has resulted in a guidance document outlining potential cruise liner liabilities in relation to coral reefs.

Developer Toolbox

Providing simple solutions that address important issues and support research, strategic planning, project studies, decision-making and management of risks

The Developer Toolbox helps us to meet our core goals: developing new approaches and tools to address key coastal and marine biodiversity threats; enhance the decision making process for infrastructure developments; and increase scientific capacity and knowledge. We seek to understand the important issues and create simple solutions to address these – openly sharing our approaches in the toolbox.

One aim of the toolbox is to provide linked tools and approaches that cascade through project timelines to simplify and offer better advice to businesses. The following schematic provides an example of the approach for sea turtles that are often an important issue that must be addressed for coastal and marine developments in tropical regions.

Our tools are developed independently or in collaboration with our network of international researchers. The toolbox will be ever expanding and we are open to new ideas and opportunities to collaborate.

Developer Toolbox

Training

Building capacity to manage risks to biodiversity and provide opportunity to people

We provide capacity building to build long term local project legacies and to improve the assessment and management of coastal and marine biodiversity risks by businesses, consultants and other organisations.

Through our global capacity building we seek to build enduring project legacies. Our aim is to build capacity through training that creates a long-term legacy and support for projects in a way that connects directly with local communities, consultants, researchers and existing programmes. The aim is to provide important long-term solutions for projects and improve the protection of coastal and marine biodiversity.

We help developers, governments and other organisations by providing local training and capacity building to deliver long-term local biodiversity support to projects as a core goal in any development project. We also seek to develop local legacy through delivering capacity building of local communities for the long-term management of biodiversity – in a way that creates a connection for stewardship of local values and provides livelihood opportunities.

We seek to establish the links with our international network of researchers, institutes and existing in-country conservation and research programmes so to provide a framework for long term support and to sustain skills.

The aim is to reduce dependency on international experts and creates a greater sense of project ownership on the ground.

We also build the capacity of local developers so that they seek to better manage their risks to biodiversity in line with international best practice approaches.

As discussed for Rapid Data in the Developer Toolbox we create tools to support the implementation of research for inexperienced people. The use of such tools builds knowledge and interest in learning as well as supporting the collection of data.

We also provide marine survey courses at all levels with the specific aim of supporting local research on the ground.

We draw on 20+ years’ of experience of delivering international studies to deliver capacity building internationally. We have delivered training for practitioners and decision-makers to support the mainstreaming of biodiversity in assessment and decision-making processes. Our training approaches involve lectures, workshops, on-the-job mentoring, case study demonstration etc. Our approaches are tailored to specific needs.

We deliver training for all levels of knowledge related to coastal and marine biodiversity, including for government, developers, International Finance Institutions and local consultants and researchers. Our aim is to build capacity to mainstream biodiversity effectively in decision-making and management of infrastructure projects using best practice approaches. We deliver training using our international network of leading biodiversity experts and safeguard practitioners. Areas that we address include project screening, managing data paucity and uncertainties, implementing the Mitigation Hierarchy, field research, best practice guidance for commonly encountered issues, implementing biodiversity safeguard standards (World Bank ESS6, IFC PS6, EBRD PR6, AfDB OS-3 etc).

IAIA Special Symposium “Using the Mitigation Hierarchy to Mainstream Biodiversity in Impact Assessment” in Washington, DC, November 16, 2017: see http://conferences.iaia.org/wdc2017/tc-01.php. In collaboration with the Biodiversity Consultancy we delivered a post-symposium one-day training course that focused on the practical application of the mitigation hierarchy in impact assessment for projects.

Our Managing Director, Neil Cousins, is a visiting lecturer at three major UK Universities for undergraduate and postgraduate environmental assessment and conservation modules giving students an insight into approaches within industry for these themes.

Consultancy Lighthouse

Our approach

We provide 3% of our mark-up on local sub-contractor inputs to ‘lock-in’ the provision of conservation funding. We also allocate 7% of our overall company profits to supporting conservation programmes.

“My view is that most projects are successful if they have a positive environmental lead and some aligned long term connectivity with local communities, which seems obvious, but is not always a development goal. Our approach is to engage in a way that is conscious of our responsibility as advisors for projects that often lead to changes to the environment, which has an effect on the people that live within or gain some benefit from these areas. In our approach we hope to act as a consultancy ‘lighthouse’. For us, it is not all about the bottom line. If you get into delivering environmental advice for development you soon realise that the role comes with a conscience.”

Neil Cousins

Managing Director, Bluedot Associates Ltd

More on our CSR approach below

CSR Projects

Helping to fund community conservation officers to deliver sea turtle nesting monitoring in Tanzania via Sea Sense a local NGO. Our funds will provide training, transportation and livelihood support for local community members.

In support of Sea Turtle Watch (STW), Liberia, we have provided funds for the creation of a safe drinking water supply to the population of the Samuel Brown Town, in return for their support to sea turtle conservation in the area.

The Ghana Research and Education Alliance for Turtles (GREAT), in collaboration with the Ghana Wildlife Division, promote sea turtle conservation in the Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site (MPRS) in central Ghana. The aim is to engage local fishing communities in the protection of sea turtles. As part of the local effort already being undertaken we have fully funded the development of a Community Centre, which acts as a hub for trade, socialising, education and health care.

In support of Program Tatô we have provided some funds to buy equipment and raw materials for 17 women traders to create handicraft products for sale at tourism points as an alternative to the trade of sea turtle derived goods.

Improving Safe Drinking Water in Samuel Brown Town, Liberia
Developing a Community Centre in the Mankoadze community in central Ghana
Supporting Program Tatô to deliver sea turtle conservation in São Tome

Partners

For funding CSR approaches, we have created a collaborative partnership with our friends at the Ocean Ecology Network, Inc. a registered 501(c)(3) NGO based in California and led by Dr. Manjula Tiwari. With interests focused on sea turtle ecology and conservation, Manjula collaborates with sea turtle projects around the world, but with an extensive focus on Atlantic Africa. You can find out more about the Ocean Ecology Network here: http://oceanecology.org/

Ocean Ecology Network remains completely independent from our company, our consultancy projects and our development links. We feel this independence and objectivity are essential for the programmes we support. We provide the funds, whilst Manjula and her team drive implementation. Our approach is to collaborate within established local programmes to ensure that our funds will lead to real action on the ground.

Manjula has supported us to deliver funding to the existing sea turtle programmes in West Africa.

Ocean Ecology Network

Contact Us

Bluedot Associates Ltd
12 Whiteladies Road
Clifton
Bristol
BS8 1PD
UK

T: (+44) (0)117 230 1205
M: (+44) (0)7815322804

Bluedot Associates