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Avoiding extinction – proving the business case For IA and IA Practitioners

Retief, F., Marshall, R. and Morrison-Saunders, A. (2007) Avoiding extinction – proving the business case For IA and IA Practitioners. In: IAIA07 Growth, Conservation and Responsibility: Promoting Good Governance and Corporate Stewardship Through Impact Assessment, 27th annual meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 3 - 4 June, Seoul, South Korea.

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Value is often defined by four tests – was it noticed, was it accepted, was it effective and was it done for the common good? Whilst few debate the latter in respect of IA, economic and political agendas have placed increased pressure on IA practitioners to demonstrate ‘added value’ in development. An area of particular concern is how practitioners justify EIA costs against its resultant direct and indirect benefits. To date there is limited empirical research in this area, as the needs to meet regulatory standards have obscured research regarding IA ‘value.’ This paper explores the case for IA ‘value‘in three geographical business contexts (UK, Australia and South Africa). Cost savings through project management, risk intervention strategies and design alternatives directly attributable to IA intervention are identified. The methodology uses selective surveys and case studies to examine issues and experience. We conclude that significant savings can indeed be realised for a range of different types of projects within all three geographic regions. This suggests that environmentally friendly design makes business sense and that IA is an internationally proven mechanism to achieve cost savings by informing good design. We propose further avenues for exploring the cost of IA.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
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