Business recognises nature’s true value

Tuesday 5th March 2013

Urban flowers cpt Paul Hobson

A new report, published today, recognises business’ true reliance on nature and its true value to the economy.

Realising nature’s value is a report from the independent, business-led, Ecosystems Markets Task Force.  It strongly signals the need to take a fresh look at business opportunities linked to protecting and restoring the natural environment.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said:

“Nature is good for business.  That is a fact.  Society has been too reliant on old-fashioned economic growth which was at the expense of the natural environment.  Yet our prosperity depends entirely on nature whether it is better management of our woods for fuel, the creation of wetlands to reduce flooding, the restoration of rivers to improve water quality, or creating new wildlife-rich places where people live.

Nature is good for business. That is a fact.

One of the report’s recommendations is linking biodiversity offsetting to new developments once the most important wildlife sites have been protected.  The Wildlife Trusts welcome the report’s recommendation for it to be mandatory.  Any land lost to development should lead to gains for wildlife elsewhere.

Paul added:  “We must not hold business back from doing the right thing. Biodiversity off-setting must be mandatory to avoid creating uncertainty and a sense that wildlife is an ‘optional extra’.

The Government will respond to the Ecosystems Markets Task Force report Realising Nature’s Value in the summer when The Wildlife Trusts will look for recognition by the Government that nature is vital to the economy.

Notes for editors:

Ecosystems Markets Task Force (EMTF)
This Task Force brings together industry leaders and experts from a wide range of sectors, ranging from banking and biodiversity conservation to beauty, to look for ways in which companies can improve both the environment and their bottom line. On 6 November 2012, the Task Force published its Interim Report, Why valuing the natural environment correctly matters for business.  The report set out the aims of the Task Force, its emerging thinking on why nature should matter to business and the potential opportunities for business from valuing nature correctly.  Led by Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of retail group Kingfisher plc, the Ecosystem Markets Task Force (EMTF) will review the opportunities available to UK business that could help them develop green goods, services, investment vehicles and markets which value and protect the environment.  The Task Force will report back to the Government in early 2013 through the Green Economy Council.  You can read the report, published today, on Defra’s website http://www.defra.gov.uk/ecosystem-markets/work/publications-reports/

The Wildlife Trusts (TWT)
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK, 37 of which are in England. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.

Biodiversity offsetting
Biodiversity off-setting is an approach which was announced in the Government’s Natural Environment White Paper. From April 2012, Defra has been working with local planning authorities and their partners to test this approach over a two year period.  TWT are engaged in the Government’s six pilot schemes and believe it should consider the outcomes of the trials before promoting the approach more broadly.  TWT work closely with developers and planners throughout the UK every day to ensure that development and wildlife can coexist. Last year we examined more than 50,000 planning applications to assess their impact on wildlife and advise on improvements.  For more on biodiversity offsetting, visit http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/living-landscape/planning/biodiversity-offsetting

Tagged with: Living Landscapes