11th January 2018
The 25 Year Environment Plan announced by Theresa May today marks the end of an era in which we have simply slowed the decline of the natural environment. It places more emphasis than ever before on the vital functions of the environment for a sustainable economy, such reducing flood risk and improving health.
The UK faces a pressing need to find new forms of investment to restore the environment; natural capital such as woodland and wetland. Financing new and restored natural infrastructure is beyond the reach of charity and government grants. The Northern Forest announced in the Plan is estimated to be worth £2 billion to the economy. Delivery of the natural capital elements of the 25 Year Environment Plan requires new mixes of public, private and other investment. Money to merely compensate for the impacts of further built development will only go so far.
The Ecosystem Knowledge Network's Natural Capital Investment Conference, being held in London on 1st March, will be the first event to address how to generate finance at the monumental scale that befits this ambitious Environment Plan.
Conference organiser Dr Bruce Howard says: “Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove has described himself as an environmentalist ‘because of hard calculation as well as the promptings of the heart'."
“Hard calculation must lead to new investment. At the Natural Capital Investment Conference we are bringing experts and leaders together to explore how it will be possible to attract real, long term investment to environmental projects in the coming decades.”
The Natural Capital Investment Conference will examine new ways of turning investment plans into investable projects, such as the restoration of key natural features such as woodland and wetland. Experts and leaders in finance, public policy and environmental management will take part, including Dr Bevis Watts, Managing Director of Triodos Bank UK; Shirley Trundle CBE, Director for Natural Environment Policy at Defra and Tony Juniper CBE. The Rt Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, recently re-appointed Chair of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, will deliver an opening address.
Triodos Bank, a global pioneer in sustainable banking, is lead sponsor for the Conference.
Dr Bevis Watts, Triodos Bank UK Managing Director, says: “This conference is a crucial opportunity to progress the use of natural capital investment in the UK. We need to develop scalable mechanisms for investment in natural capital that create a better link between our economy and its use of our natural resources. Triodos is keen to support the development of this new and important market.”
The Natural Capital Investment Conference takes place 1 March 2018 at The British Library in London. For more information on the event and how to book, visit our event page.
See our commentary: The 25 Year Environment Plan: three important things to consider