Robert Spencer, director of sustainability at AECOM, writes about the need for adopting circular economy and natural capital approaches in the built environment.

This article was originally published on Infrastructure Intelligence


“Organisations in the infrastructure sector continue to show growing interest in sustainability and climate resilience when planning major developments and 2017 could see a rise in the number of innovative approaches being applied. Natural capital and circular economy principles that were once seen as ‘nice-to-haves’ are now starting to become more mainstream, with infrastructure owners recognising the business benefits that introducing these approaches can bring.

…Natural capital is another approach that is gathering pace. Last year, the Natural Capital Protocol was launched with uptake from some of the world’s leading organisations. This year will see the publication of more specific guides to help businesses in different sectors incorporate natural capital into business planning and its application in infrastructure continues to grow. Next on the agenda, however, must be social capital. Social capital, which covers the benefits that sustainable measures can bring to the wider community, is proving more complex and difficult to quantify.

There is evidence that demonstrates the considerable health benefits that natural capital and circular economy measures can bring, with air quality chief among these concerns at present. Social capital uptake will no doubt increase in 2017 and the infrastructure sector must take steps to account for its benefits as new schemes develop. How to buy social value will continue to be a question that will perplex infrastructure commissioners in the months ahead….”

Read on at: Infrastructure Intelligence.