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Five reasons to attend the ENDS Natural Capital Conference

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Environment Agency chair Emma Howard-Boyd
Environment Agency chair Emma Howard-Boyd

Environment Agency chair Emma Howard-Boyd will join other senior figures from Natural England, the Forestry Commission and utility firms Yorkshire Water and United Utilities at the ENDS Natural Capital Conference, due to take place in London on Wednesday 27 June. 

The natural capital approach, which featured strongly in the 25-Year Environment Plan, seeks to place a value on all the benefits nature provides so that society and business fully appreciate its contribution and do not damage it beyond repair.

The ENDS Natural Capital Conference will bring together people from around the country who want to develop a natural capital approach and are keen to explore what the next phase of piloting might look like.

Here are five reasons to attend the event:

1. Be briefed by senior figures from key agencies on policymakers’ latest thinking on the natural capital approach and how it has already been tested

Environment Agency chair Emma Howard-Boyd and Natural England chief strategy and reform officer Alan Law will take part in a question and answer session at the event. 

Also speaking at the conference is Tim Sunderland, principal specialist in economics at Natural England, who will set out the lessons from a pioneer project charged with experimenting with the application of the approach to inform the development of DEFRA’s 25-Year Environment Plan.

2. Hear best practice natural capital approaches from organisations that have pioneered the method

Speakers from utility firms United Utilities and Yorkshire Water and car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover will discuss the frameworks that they adopted to identify and value their natural capital assets. Jonathan Dobson, sustainability strategy manager at United Utilities, will explain how natural capital valuation is influencing the firm’s mid- to long-term decision-making on the management of land, while Gordon Rogers, head of sustainability at Yorkshire Water, will explain how the company embedded the natural capital approach in a standardised decision-making framework in order to shape its business plan and inform business investment decisions. Ian Ellison, senior manager - sustainability at Jaguar Land Rover, will set out the firm’s approach to natural capital valuation.

3. Gain practical insight into how to secure access to robust data to inform natural capital assessments

Professor Matthew Ling, programme officer at UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and Dr Lisa Norton, head of the land use group at the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology, will deliver practical tips on how to build and analyse natural capital data effectively. In the session, Ling and Norton will reflect on barriers to the implementation of natural capital assessments, and the strides being made by industry and others to overcome the data challenges associated with the natural capital approach.

4. Understand how to convey the complex nature of natural capital valuation to colleagues outside of sustainability and environmental teams

Natalie Pullin, project lead at the Natural Capital Coalition, will discuss how to create the internal conditions for success in mainstreaming the natural capital approach within organisations, having carried out research with business leaders to understand the barriers.

Ian Dickie, director of economics at consultancy Eftec, will deliver a practical session on developing corporate natural capital accounts to help support financial and management decisions.

5. Hear the latest thinking on how to measure biodiversity

Measuring biodiversity is often a major challenge, with many of the tools available difficult to apply in a corporate context. Dr Gemma Cranston is programme director at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, which is developing a quantifiable measure that can be used to assess the impact of a company’s activities on biodiversity. She will discuss progress to date, share insights from companies and explain what still needs to happen in order to create simple, practical performance measures for corporate use on biodiversity.

The ENDS Natural Capital Conference takes place on 27 June at 15 Hatfields, South Bank, London. For further details, or to book a place, please click here

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