This article was originally published on RSPB.


“If humans are to live in harmony with nature, we need to find a way to decouple economic growth from environmental harm and that means finding a way to reflect the true value of nature in decision-making.

To me, this has always felt a bit like nature conservation’s Holy Grail.  Fix the economic system and the problems facing nature should subside. So, I’m excited to be in Edinburgh this week to take part in the World Nature Natural Capital Forum.  This is the bi-annual opportunity for people from around the world to share ideas and experiences about how well they are doing to rising to this challenge.

This is particularly timely, given the UK Government’s commitment to produce a 25 year environment plan (due either side of Christmas*) as a roadmap for how they plan to restore the natural environment in a generation. Our contribution to this conference will be the publication of a Natural Capital Account for the RSPB’s nature reserves in England.  We have produced this because there has been a lot of talk about how natural capital accounting could provide a major leap forward in how we reflect nature in decision-making.

The theory goes, that if businesses, landowners, local authorities and even central government were obliged to produce natural capital accounts alongside financial accounts, they would be a greater accountability for the state of nature which in turn could lead to greater investment in and protection of nature and the services that it provides**.

Yet, this remains a theory.  Some businesses have piloted this approach, but the implications for biodiversity remain uncertain.  We wanted to see what natural capital accounting might mean for biodiversity.  And that’s why, as a contribution to the debate, we have looked at our nature reserve network in England…”

Read on at: RSPB