Can natural markets benefit business and the environment?

On 28 September 2016, we hosted a panel discussion, in partnership with the National Trust, to discuss our new report proposing a new market for ecosystem services which benefits business and the environment.

  1. Our panel: Angela Francis, senior economist at Green Alliance, Steven Smith, technical director at AECOM, David Elliott, group strategy and new markets director at Wessex Water; and Chris Uttley, rural sustainable drainage project officer for Stroud District Council. The event was chaired by Patrick Begg, rural enterprises director at the National Trust.
  2. New markets for land & nature starting @royalsociety. Patrick Begg @nationaltrust invites challenge & ideas from the floor #markets4nature
  3. Angela Francis began the discussion by introducing Green Alliance and the National Trust's new report 'New markets for land and nature' and the Natural Infrastructure Scheme (NIS) it proposes.
  4. Angela Francis: Current policies not enough to address decline of natural environment but ecosystem services yet to take off #markets4nature
  5. Not having slow clean water in rivers costs £2.4bn in flood & water quality costs: massive market for better land management #markets4nature
  6. Next steps: trial natural infrastructure scheme on the ground and get government involved in accelerating market development #markets4nature
  7. Steven Smith drew out lessons from Defra's Payment for Ecosystem Service pilots and pathfinders, noting that few beneficiaries have sufficient financial stake in the well-being of the natural environment. He said a farmer-led NIS could be game-changing if there were robust guarantees and standards for performance.
  8. .@AECOM's Steve Smith: Challenge of persuading farm owners and land managers to trust #markets4nature
  9. AECOM's Steven Smith: payment for ecosystem services is an idea whose time has come, but big challenges to setting… 
  10. David Elliott spoke about Wessex Water’s auction approach to water quality issues, emphasising the savings achieved with a local, business-to-business approach. He suggested that this could be integrated with the NIS mechanism, and that the opportunity to purchase ecosystem services would be welcomed by water companies.
  11. David Elliott: @wessexwater trying to achieve wider societal objectives such as to deal with flooding #markets4nature
  12. @wessexwater's David Elliott: started catchment management to meet business needs with a saving in the £millions… 
  13. @wessexwater: £13billion/year spent on catchments in England; don't need new grants, need wiser spend to get better results #markets4nature
  14. Finally, Chris Uttley shared Stroud District Council's experience of a small scale approach and its benefits, highlighting what can be achieved without payments to landowners and farmers.
  15. .Stroud_RSuDS: Why are we successful? Locally driven, bottom up community project with support of public and landowners #markets4nature
  16. Chris Uttley@Stroud_RSuDS says flooding is inherently political, Local Authorities have a role in setting up solutions. #markets4nature
  17. Patrick Begg opened the floor to audience questions.
  18. Q from audience: 'How do you view viable creation of marketplace?' @Stroud_RSuDS: 'Would be difficult, principle is viable' #markets4nature
  19. .@AECOM's Steve Smith: Landowners will want payment if we want a conservation revolution #markets4nature
  20. Audience Q: Societal vs market value. Where do these places meet? Is there a framework? #markets4nature
  21. .@Stroud_RSuDS: Local decision makers can decide whether they get involved with market or not. Differs between LAs #markets4nature
  22. .@angelafrancisuk: Will be interesting to see how local decision makers will now view their role within flood management #markets4nature
  23. Can planning help deliver natural markets asks @FlowPartnership. Helping buyers plan & remove barriers says @angelafrancisuk #markets4nature
  24. Q: Industrial farm production is a cost to #naturalcapital but mainstream support is behind it. How do we resolve conflict? #markets4nature
  25. Future of farming policy needs to allow room for innovation and environmental solutions says @angelafrancisuk #markets4nature
  26. Patrick Begg ended the discussion by summarising the challenges ahead with continuing the Natural Infrastructure Schemes concept.
  27. 3 challenges: building good relationships; getting the regulatory framework right; realising added value - eg biodiversity #markets4nature
  28. Great disc. about local markets for flood risk/water quality, innovative finance w farmers at centre, #markets4nature event @GreenAllianceUK
  29. Further reading:
  30. New markets for land and nature: how Natural Infrastructure Schemes could pay for a better environment by Green Alliance, in association with the National Trust, provides recommendations for how the government, alongside private endeavour, can accelerate the creation of viable markets for ecosystem services.
  31. Ecosystem services market proposed to help farmers and the environment 
  32. Please contact Angela Francis, Green Alliance's senior economist, for more information about this work. direct line: 020 7630 4526