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Natural Capital Update: The business of caring for the environment

Effective stewardship of natural resources is no longer the sole preserve of government and charities. As Strath Slater reports, landowners are discovering that care for the environment is good business. 

As subsidy regimes move towards a ‘public goods for public money approach’ and the critical role of our rural landscapes in responding to climate change becomes clear, the way we value our natural capital is rapidly changing.

The geology, soil, water, air and biota – animal and plant life – of which all land managers are custodians, comprise a major portion of the Earth’s natural capital stock. Together as habitats they provide ecosystem services that generate environmental and societal benefits locally and globally – food, water, energy, clean air, health and wellbeing.

The value of these benefits, and by extension the landscapes from which they are derived, is measurable environmentally, socially and financially. As recognition of these benefits becomes codified in policy, the economics of natural capital will intersect with and potentially outweigh the economics of infrastructure development.

Qualifying landowners can develop income streams to support these activities under a significant and growing body of regulation and subsidy.

Understanding their natural capital balance sheet will enable land owners and managers to navigate this changing landscape and evaluate the value of their landscape assets in the longer term against those of prospective energy or utilities infrastructure developed on them.

This knowledge will inform agreements with developers, helping landowners and managers retain the rights and flexibility to benefit from natural capital stocks alongside new and existing projects, or opt solely for the natural capital option where this is likely to be of greater long term value.

Acting early to establish a Natural Capital baseline will ensure land managers are strategically positioned to move quickly and take advantage of opportunities as the currently shifting policy landscape coalesces around defined financial incentives for supporting ecosystem services.

Galbraith have developed a remote assessment tool which carries out this Natural Capital due diligence. More here: https://www.galbraithgroup.com/gis-services.

Utilising proprietary and open-source geospatial data, the tool assesses natural capital stocks for a selected site, enabling our clients to integrate the value which flows from them in to long term planning.

 Please contact Strath should you wish to discuss: strath.slater@galbraithgroup.com, 07917 327738.

 

 

For the latest on energy, renewable energy, utility, telecoms and rural affairs, get your copy of Energy Matters issue 23 at rachel.gow@galbraithgroup.com or read it online here:  https://e.issuu.com/embed.html?d=energy_matters_galbraith_winter_2021&u=ckdgalbraithpropertyconsultant