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How Business Can Benefit from Natural Capital

EcoSystems Market Task Force, an industry-led group that includes Jaguar Land Rover, Kingfisher, Liz Earle, Unilever and United Utilities, today urged businesses to take a new approach to protect natural resources while benefiting from the services provided by the natural world.

In its report, “Realising Nature’s Value: The Final Report of the Ecosystem Markets Task Force,” the group found business is often unaware of its true reliance on nature, and said a new tack is needed to manage future risks.

The UK government asked the task force to review opportunities for businesses from expanding green goods, services, products, investment vehicles and markets which value and protect the natural environment.

The report makes 22 recommendations, including biodiversity offsetting. The task force says a system is needed in which development’s unavoidable impacts on biodiversity are more than compensated by restoring and creating habitats elsewhere through an efficient market. If biodiversity offsetting is designed correctly, it will save developers time and money, revolutionize conservation and stimulate competitive growth of businesses, the report said.

Other recommended actions for both businesses and government include bio-energy and anaerobic digestion on farms; sustainable local wood fuel; nature-based certification and labeling; and water cycle catchment management to integrate nature into water, wastewater and flood management.

The report also suggests companies can reduce their net greenhouse gas emissions by investing in woodland creation and peatland restoration.

Other recommendations include using environmental bonds, certification and labeling schemes that place higher value on environmentally friendly food, and closing the loop on food waste through government incentives that support a system linking household waste with local anaerobic digester facilities.

A report released last month by BSR found ecosystem services may shape future policy and regulations as well as government expectations of the private sector, particularly on public lands.  The report documents government action, voluntary programs formed, administration decisions issued and new regulations that have passed. The report is especially relevant to companies that have, or are in the midst of crafting, internal policies on biodiversity and ecosystem services, BSR said.

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