The latest State of Natural Capital report, published by the UK’s Natural Capital Committee on the 11 March 2014 says that too often the environment is taken for granted, and called for a 25-year-long natural capital plan so that Britain can enjoy the “economic and wellbeing benefits”. It highlights natural capital as an important player in the UK’s economy and society and calls for the government to invest in it. Chair of the committee, the economist Dieter Helm, wrote in the report, “Integrating the environment into the economy is hampered by the almost complete absence of proper accounting for natural assets. What is not measured is usually ignored. The committee is leading the way in developing the metrics and risk registers, identifying the necessary capital maintenance, and ensuring that project and investment appraisals in both the public and private sectors properly take natural capital into account.”
The report contains three key messages:
- Some natural assets are currently not being used sustainably. The benefits we derive from them are at risk, which has significant economic implications;
- There are substantial economic benefits to be gained from maintaining and improving natural assets. The benefits will be maximised if their full value is incorporated into decision-making; and,
- A long-term plan is necessary to maintain and improve natural capital, thereby delivering wellbeing and economic growth.
The full report will be published at www.naturalcapitalcommittee.org
Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape at The Wildlife Trusts wrote this blog in response.