Natural England “Delivering nature’s services”
We can provide support to our clients wishing to explore how they can manage their natural resources in a more sustainable manner and maximise the value that such approaches can provide. We can carry our baseline audits of your natural resources and explore potential markets and payments systems.
We work closely with our clients to understand the importance of ecosystems and the services they provide, and creating linkages with those who could directly benefit from such services. By linking up ecosystem providers and potential beneficiaries we can provide better outcomes for the natural environment, society and the economy.
As sustainability experts involved in policy and practice, we are fully aware of the wider services that our ecosystems bring to enhancing our wellbeing and contributing to economic prosperity.
Our experiences match that of environmental policy makers and government authorities in that we have seen the loss and degradation of valuable ecosystems and species over time.
There is increasing interest in recognising the value of the natural environment and the wide range of services it provides, including providing us with food, clean water, healthy soils, carbon storage, nutrient cycling and more intangible benefits such as recreational and cultural services.
Because we work across a wide spectrum of rural businesses, land owners and developers we are in a unique position to identify opportunities for our clients at the key stages of their project or business cycle.
Exploring carbon and biodiversity values
Our clients, a large chain of garden centres, were developing their awareness of carbon emissions from their operations as part of their actions towards sustainable development. The company owns 3,635 acres of woodland and forests in Scotland and were interested in determining how much carbon resources this takes up.
Our approach was to understand firstly the carbon footprint of the garden centre businesses in relation to energy use, (8,300 tonnes of CO2e), and assess whether the carbon emissions reached the threshold to trigger carbon reporting.
We calculated the carbon baseline scenario (carbon stock) and carbon leakage from the company’s existing and new forests and woodlands in order to predict the carbon sequestration of the woodland over time. As a result we were able to recommend monitoring methods, and ensure that they understood the rules on making claims about their carbon sequestration.
Additionally, our client was keen to explore the concepts of biodiversity offsetting/ payments for ecosystem services in areas of their Scottish land holdings that would be suitable for priority habitat creation or restoration (heather moorland specifically).
The aim of biodiversity offsetting is that they must provide additional benefits (not designed to undertake works that were going to happen anyway), and would last in perpetuity. The client would therefore become the offset provider and paid according to the type and distinctiveness of the habitat, the size of the site and the condition of the existing habitat at the start and end of the project.
Adding value to historic landscapes
Our clients, a leading charity in Sherwood Forest, wished to develop corporate supporter schemes for landscape work to be carried out on woodlands, heathlands and wetland within the forest.
The aim of the project was to enable businesses identify and minimise their environmental impact and provide positive benefits to their local communities and landscapes within the Sherwood Forest area.
Sherwood Forest is typical of many landscapes threatened by climate change, habitat fragmentation and pressures from industrial and urban development.
Our role was to work with the Trust to help develop the ‘Reduce and Restore’ concept and link corporate social responsibility and environmental activities to saving the ancient landscapes of the forest against the effects of climate change.