Guidance for private-sector publication of biodiversity data

Private companies are increasingly demonstrating commitments to environmental and social responsiblity by sharing data they collect during monitoring and impact assessment activities

The Malawi stumptail chameleon (Rhampholeon platyceps), classified as endangered under the IUCN Red List. Photo 2018 Markus Gmeiner via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Andrew Rodrigues, programme officer at the GBIF Secretariat, provided this overview of private-sector engagement to the 27th GBIF Governing Board on 21 October 2020.

Upcoming events

OpenPSD: Promoting publication and use of private-sector data on biodiversity

GBIF nodes from Spain, Colombia, France, Norway and Portugal have developed the following suite of materials in support of a project to promote the publication and use of biodiversity data by private-sector partners.

Webinar: Bringing together open data on biodiversity from the private sector, SiB Colombia, 5 May 2020 (in Spanish)


The Data4Nature initiative encourages development actors to capitalize on the biodiversity data collected during impact assessments of the projects they support. Learn more in English, French and Spanish.

IBSA: Digitally Transforming Environmental Assessment

The Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute and the Western Australian Marine Science Institution have been working with researchers and officials from industry and government to enhance access, aggregation, interpretation and management of biodiversity information collected in Western Australia.

In May 2018, the Western Australia Department of Water and Environmental Regulation launched the Index of Biodiversity Surveys for Assessments, which ensures that the long-term capture, aggregation and reuse of biodiversity data collected as part of environmental assessment. Acknowledged nationally and internationally as best practice in collecting environmental data, the Index enables Western Australia to continue to transform its processes into a contemporary digital approach: the Digital Environmental Impact Assessment. With appropriate resourcing and support, the partners believe this transformation will:

  • Improve the efficiency for environmental assessments for both the proponent and regulator
  • Improve the confidence of the regulator that they have made an informed decision at both the project level and at a landscape (cumulative impact) scale
  • Improve public trust in EIA decisions through transparency and visibility of data and methods underpinning decisions
  • Provide assurance that commitments to Ministerial conditions are proceeding as planned through continuous monitoring and assessment

As of November 2020, IBSA has collected more than 1,300 surveys from industry worth an estimated AU$100 million, with the majority of surveys available under a CC BY 4.0 licence. With its transition to a a Western Australian government URL, IBSA is now formally embedded as a ‘permanent’ program.

In the past year, efforts to collect marine data of all types (not just biodiversity) gathered 45 datasets with an estimated value of AU$50 million (marine surveys being significantly more expensive than terrestrial surveys). All are licensed under CC BY 4.0, marking a cultural shift that is equally valuable, given that they are shared voluntarily by corporate stakeholders.

The Equator Principles

Additional resources