Thursday 27th October 2016                 Change text size:

UK ‘could miss opportunities’ if it fails to invest sustainably in natural capital

Photo: Forest Wander via Flickr

The Natural Capital Committee (NCC) has released its first report, designed to ensure that the government has a better informed understanding of the economic value of natural capital. It will help prioritise action to support and improve the UK’s natural assets.

The NCC report, The State of Natural Capital, highlights existing evidence that indicates that the UK is failing to conserve and invest in its natural capital assets sustainably.

“By failing to invest adequately in maintenance and enhancement, we risk missing opportunities that better management and stewardship of natural capital can offer”, the report says.

Natural capital is defined by the NCC as “the elements of nature that produce value (directly and indirectly) to people, such as the stock of forests, rivers, land, minerals and oceans. It includes the living aspects of nature (such as fish stocks) as well as the non-living aspects (such as minerals and energy resources).”

In order to identify which natural capital assets are being used unsustainably, the NCC report recommends the development of a new framework that provides a comprehensive assessment of the state of natural capital.

The aim of this framework is to better measure and account for changes in natural capital assets, alongside improving the valuation of these changes during decision-making.

Better management of natural capital assets is also recommended by the NCC report, in order to “deliver greater value for money now and in the future.”

The NCC was established after the publication of the white paper, The Natural Choice: Securing the Value of Nature, to provide independent expert advice on the state of the UK’s natural capital.

Further reading:

Why we can’t afford to lose ecosystem services

Global biodiversity conservation is ‘necessary for lasting economic development’

‘Sustainability is the driver of returns’

We need investment that prioritises long-term wellbeing for people and planet’

The Guide to Sustainable Investment 2013

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