Making the most of your Natural Capital

Kathryn Fraser

Define, measure and plan

Climate crisis, Net Zero, sustainability and environmental social governance are all terms that have been widely used in the last few years. However, we are now seeing a convergence of all these terms in policy as we join up all the arguments to improve and reduce our impact on the world. Greenwashing or highlighting marketing-based nods towards environmental commitments are being called out and there is increasingly a demand for empirical evidence. Carbon accounting is already a viable way to trade and biodiversity accounting is on its way. Financial houses and insurance companies will be needing evidence of risk and commitment and the UK Government are increasingly looking for evidence of public good to release public funds. Add to that, that the Government will be looking to gain some of the Net Zero carbon reduction targets from agriculture and land, means that those responsible for such land need to be able to calculate just how they are going to achieve those carbon reductions or increases in biodiversity.

Just as you would not approach the governance of your finances without knowing what you had in the first place, so you should not with the environmental assets you have on your land. You need to measure, define, and record what is there, so that you can plan for the future and manage its performance.
Knowing what you have, looking at you want to achieve and applying the balance of what you need to do to make it work, is a sound investment plan. You start with a getting a baseline or what you have already. You ensure that you can reproduce your data, define or describe your measurement or observation methods, so that the results of monitoring are repeatable, and the data is valid. It needs to be recorded and stored correctly, so it can be easily used to make decisions.

So, what kind of land do you have; how big is it; what habitats does it support; what living things are supported by that habitat? Where is the water and where does it go? What is your carbon storing potential? How much peat is on the land: how deep is it and what condition is it in; how much carbon can it store? You may already have a forestry or other plans and schemes, and this can be integrated. It is all about keeping it all together, so it can be referred to as a whole.

Environmental, financial, and social management of those assets can be then be planned for within a reasonable timeframe and goals and targets set for improvements and gains. Information can be extracted and used to support grants or planning applications or investments or marketing efforts. Do it right now and you could be ahead of the game as policy and attitudes continue to adapt quickly. As a wise man once said, “buy land, they aren’t making it anymore” and so we should not only look to recognise the real value of our natural assets, but also realise its true potential.

Why not get the experts onboard and chat to the Nevis team – it’s what we do.

Natural Capital, Climate Change, baseline, Carbon Assets, ESG, Integrity, Data, Net zero, Carbon offsetting, Carbon codes, Nature based solutions