The Natural Capital Initiative proudly hosted our second ‘Valuing our Life Support Systems’ natural capital summit on 6th & 7th November 2014, held at the British Library. Since our launch summit in 2009, a growing number of influential activities have emerged across all sectors within the natural capital space – from networks to research programmes, committees to coalitions. This emerging hive of activity is testament to the traction the natural capital concept has gained with a variety of audiences.

Five years on, the summit brought together some 250 influencers from across academia, policy, business, and civil society.

 The aims of the summit were to:

    1. Derive a common understanding of what natural capital really means
    2. Understand in plain language the natural and social science behind it
    3. Find and demonstrate ways in which sectors and initiatives can work, and are working, together to apply it
    4. Identify ways of ensuring that practical responses have scientific rigour
    5. Communicate recommendations for ways forward across the sectors.

By facilitating cross-disciplinary dialogue, the summit assessed gains made and further enabled the valuing of natural capital in planning and decision-making based on sound science. There were discussions on a range of topics, from ecosystem services and health and cultural services to economic and ecological principles of natural capital.

For a recap of the discussions, check out the storify timeline of the summit. Presentations will soon be available to view on the NCI website.

Day One: 6th November

09:00 Arrival and Registration

09:30 Welcome – Roly Keating (British Library)

09:40 Opening remarks – Rosie Hails (Natural Capital Initiative)

Keynote addresses

10:00 Professor Giles Atkinson (LSE): What is natural capital?

10:20 Dr Simon Kerley (NERC): Natural capital and knowledge

10:40 Peter Young (Aldersgate Group): Business perspectives on natural capital

11:00 Richard Spencer (ICAEW): Natural Capital debates and queries

11:30 Panel Discussion

12:00 Lunch

13:00 Parallel Sessions 1

Economic and ecological principles - An interdisciplinary panel session to reflect on at the underlying principles of natural capital.
Drew Purves (Microsoft Research), Matthew Agarwala (UEA), Ian Dickie (eftec), Chair: Ece Ozdemiroglu (eftec).

Linking natural capital and other capital - An investigation into how natural capital relates to other forms of capital, such as social, economic and human capital.
Tim O’Riordan (UEA), Dorothy Maxwell (Global View Sustainability Services), Carlota Garcia-Manas (EIRIS) Chair: Jawed Khan (ONS).

How good is our knowledge? – Examination of existing databases, models and knowledge, and how well they support natural capital concepts and practical implementation.
Tom Oliver (CEH), Felix Eigenbrod (University of Southampton), Chair: Bill Sutherland (University of Cambridge).

Natural capital and sustainable growth
Mike Sewell (Kier), Stephanie Hime (KPMG), Rowland Hill (M&S), Karen Ellis (WWF-UK), Chair: Peter Young (Aldersgate Group)
Host: Aldersgate Group

Participant meetings 

14:00 Parallel Sessions 2

Ethics of natural capital- Discussion of the ethical dimension of the natural capital concept, such as the anthropocentric view of ecosystem services, rights of other organisms and limits of economic valuation.
Victor Anderson (Global Sustainability Institute), Camilla Toulmin (IIED), Nick Dearden (World Development Movement), Chair: Richard Spencer (ICAEW).
Natural capital and health - Examining the evidence for how natural capital can deliver human health benefits.
Mat White (European Centre for Environment and Human Heath), Sari Kovats (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Hilary Graham (University of York), Chair: David Penchon (NHS).
Cultural Services- The relationship between natural capital and cultural services.
Andrew Church (University of Brighton), Rob Fish (University of Exeter), Chair: Steve Albon (James Hutton Institute).
Natural capital mapping - How are environmental science data translated into maps, and how can businesses and policy makers use this information?
Jonathan Winn (Durham Wildlife Trust), John Watkins (CEH), Chair: Nick Dales (Natural England).

Keynote addresses

15:00 Ulrike Hotopp (Defra): UK government perspective on natural capital

15:50 Jo Pike (World Forum on Natural Capital): Natural capital: where are we now?

16:10 Pieter van der Gaag (Natural Capital Coalition): Natural Capital Coalition for Business

16:30 Panel Discussion

17:30 Drinks Reception

Drinks reception for all summit participants.
Royal College of GPs, 30 Euston Square.

19:00 Summit Dinner (additional cost)

Royal College of GPs, 30 Euston Square.
After dinner address: Steve Ormerod (Professor of Ecology, Cardiff University & Chair, RSPB Council)
Spaces for dinner are limited to 100, so please book now if you would like to attend. The fee for the dinner is £60.


Day Two: 7th November

08:15 Arrival and Registration

08:45 Welcome and opening remarks - Professor Alison Hester (James Hutton Institute)

Keynote Addresses

09:00 Glyn Davies (WWF): Future directions: conservation

09:15 Professor Anthony Kessel (Public Health England): Future directions: public health

09:30 Will Evison (PwC): Future directions: business and accounting

09:45 Inder Poonaji (Nestle S.A.): Future directions: business and sustainability

10:00 Panel discussion

10:30 Tea and coffee

11:00 Parallel Sessions 3

Partnerships for land and water management- Appropriate land and water management can result in benefits for business and the public. This session will showcase and analyse examples of partnerships for land and water management and discuss how these can be extended to other situations.
Natasha Barker Bradshaw (Celtic Seas Partnership, WWF-UK), Alistair Maltby (The Rivers Trust), Chair: Professor Edward Maltby (Devon Maritime Forum)
Natural capital and storytelling - This session will investigate innovative ways to communicate the concept of natural capital by engaging decision makers from a wide range of sectors with a particular focus on our experience with business, linking with Smart Economic Growth.
Host: Surrey Nature Partnership and Mark Pearson (Surrey Connects)
Natural capital – the next 25 years - This session will provide participants the opportunity to provide ideas for the Natural Capital Committee’s national 25- year plan for maintaining and improving our natural capital.
Host: Natural Capital Committee.

12:00 Lunch

13:00 Parallel Sessions 4

Managing land for the benefits of society-How can landscapes be managed to sustain water resources for business and public benefit?
Dr Tom Nisbet (Forest Research), Professor Richard Brazier (University of Exeter), Lewis Jones (South West Water), Chair: Ruth Waters (Natural England).
Corporate stewardship for natural capital Can thinking of ecosystems as natural capital accelerate or inhibit corporate stewardship on the ground?
Host: WWF-UK; David Norman (SABMiller), Gemma Cranston (Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), Chair: Stuart Poore (WWF-UK)
Natural capital and food security - How do we manage our natural capital wisely in light of global change? Considering food security as an example, how can sustainable use of our resources contribute to resolving future challenges?
Dr Tara Garnett (Environmental Change Institute), Professor Allan Buckwell (IEEP), Dr Andrew Clark (NFU), Chair: Dr Peter Costigan.

14:00 Parallel Sessions 5

Natural capital and cities
This session will investigate how the notion of natural capital can be incorporated into the strategic planning of UK cities. The work of Birmingham City Council will be presented, along with an introduction to an ongoing study of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Bedford, Milton Keynes and Luton.
Nick Grayson (Birmingham City Council), Professor Jim Harris (Cranfield University), Chair: Martin Ballard (Willmott Dixon Group).
Natural Capital: Finding the common ground – This session will explore how the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital came in to begin and examine progress during its first year of operation. Participants will be invited to take part in interactive exercises, designed to help actors from different sectors find common ground.
Session host: Scottish Forum on Natural Capital
Developing natural capital for investors – The financial industry is beginning to engage with the concept of natural capital. This session will identify ways to make natural capital tangible for investors.
Stephanie Maier (Aviva Investors), Jamie Butterworth (Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation), Justin Atkinson (Alliance Trust), Anders Nordheim (UNEP Financing Initiative), Chair: Dr Sarah Kemmitt.

Keynote Adresses

15:00 Professor Mike Acreman: Summary of findings

15:15 Professor Georgina Mace (UCL): The future of natural capital

15:30 Closing remarks – Professor Alison Hester (James Hutton Institute)

15:40 Tea and coffee

16:00 Departure

Watch this space – over the next few weeks we shall be loading videos and reports from the conference.

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