The Natural Capital Initiative host our second ‘Valuing our Life Support Systems’ natural capital summit on 6th & 7th November 2014. 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, we brought together 250 influencers from across academia, policy, business, and civil society within this expanded community and beyond to assess gains made and further enable the valuing of natural capital in planning and decision-making based on sound science.

The summit aimed at:

    1. Deriving a common understanding of what natural capital really means
    2. Understanding in plain language the natural and social science behind it
    3. Finding and demonstrating ways in which sectors and initiatives can work, and are working, together to apply it
    4. Identifying ways of ensuring that practical responses have scientific rigour
    5. Communicating recommendations for ways forward across the sectors.


VoLSS report coverDownload Valuing our Life Support Systems report.





Watch the video of the summit. 

Follow the links below to view presentations and videos from the event.
Click icon to view the video of keynote speeches and panel discussions.
Click icon to see the slide presentation.

Opening RemarksAllan Watt, Natural Capital Initiative

Keynote Addresses.
What is Natural Capital?Giles Atkinson, London School of Economics
Natural Capital and KnowledgeSimon Kerley, Natural Environment Research Council
Business Perspectives on Natural CapitalPeter Young, Aldersgate Group
Natural Capital Debates and QueriesRichard Spencer, ICAEW
Panel DiscussionChair: Alison Hester
Parallel Sessions 1
Economic and Ecological PrinciplesAn interdisciplinary panel session to reflect on the underlying principles of natural capital.
Chair: Ece Ozdemiroglu, eftec
Dr Drew Purves, Microsoft Research
Matthew Agarwala, University of East Anglia
Ian Dickie, eftec
Linking Natural Capital and Other CapitalAn investigation into how natural capital relates to other forms of capital, such as social, economic and human capital.
Chair: Jawed Khan, ONS
Dorothy Maxwell, Global View Sustainability Services
Carlota Garcia-Manas, EIRIS
Tim O’Riordan, University of East Anglia
How Good is our Knowledge?Examination of existing databases, models and knowledge, and how well they support natural capital concepts and practical implementation.
Chair: Professor Bill Sutherland, University of Cambridge
Dr Tom Oliver, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Dr Felix Eigenbrod, University of Southampton
Natural Capital and Economic GrowthThis session will explore the business case of how safeguarding the health of ecosystems is fundamental to the health of UK plc, how businesses have engaged with this complex area, and what challenges remain to be tackled.
Host: The Aldersgate Group
Chair: Peter Young, The Aldersgate Group
Rowland Hill, Marks and Spencer
Mike Sewell, Kier Group
Karen Ellis, WWF-UK
Stephanie Hime, KPMG
Parallel Sessions 2
Ethics of Natural CapitalDiscussion of the ethical dimension of the natural capital concept, the anthropocentric view of ecosystem services, rights of other organisms and limits of economic valuation.
Chair: Richard Spencer, ICAEW
Victor Anderson, Global Sustainability Institute
Camilla Toulmin, IIED
Nick Dearden, World Development Movement
Natural Capital and HealthThe evidence for how natural capital can deliver human health benefits.
Chair: David Pencheon, NHS
Mathew White, European Centre for Environment and Human Health
Dr Sari Kovats, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Hilary Graham, University of York
Cultural ServicesThe relationship between natural capital and cultural services.
Steve Albon, James Hutton Institute
Andrew Church, University of Brighton
Robert Fish, University of Exeter
Natural Capital MappingHow are environmental science data translated into maps, and how can businesses and policy makers use this information?
Chair: Nick Dales, Natural England
Jonathan Winn, Durham Wildlife Trust
John Watkins, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Keynote Addresses.
UK Government Perspective on Natural CapitalUlrike Hotopp, Defra
Natural Capital: Where are we now?Jo Pike, World Forum on Natural Capital
Natural Capital Coalition for BusinessPieter van der Gaag, Natural Capital Coalition
Panel DiscussionChair: Alison Hester
After dinner speaker
Steve Ormerod, Cardiff University and Chair, RSPB Council
Keynote Addresses - Future Directions
Future Directions: ConservationGlyn Davies, WWF
Future Directions: HealthAnthony Kessel, Public Health England
Future Directions: Business and AccountingWill Evison, PwC
Future Directions: Business and SustainabilityInder Poonaji, Nestle S.A.
Panel DiscussionChair: Professor Alison Hester
Parallel Sessions 3
Partnerships for Land and Water ManagementThis session will showcase and analyse examples of partnerships for land and water management resulting in benefits for business and the public and discuss how these can be extended to other situations
Chair: Edward Maltby , University of Liverpool
Alastair Maltby, Rivers Trust
Natasha Barker-Bradshaw, WWF-UK
Natural Capital and StorytellingThis 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 Surrey Nature Partnership’s experience with business, linking with Smart Economic Growth.
Host: Surrey Nature Partnership
Chair: Mark Pearson, Surrey Connects
Sarah Jane Chambwindira, Surrey Wildlife Trust
Ron Donaldson, Ecology of Knowledge
Natural Capital: The Next 25 YearsThis session will provide participants with 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
Julian Harlow, NCC
Georgina Mace, NCC
Giles Atkinson, NCC
Ian Dickie, eftec
Parallel Sessions 4
Managing Land for the Benefit of SocietyHow can landscapes be managed to sustain water resources for business and public benefit?
Chair: Ruth Waters, Natural England
Richard Brazier, University of Exeter
Tom Nisbet, Forest Research
Lewis Jones, South West Water
Corporate Stewardship for Natural CapitalHow can different sectors (e.g. water, forestry, finance) incorporate natural capital in their operations? Can thinking of ecosystems as natural capital accelerate or inhibit stewardship on the ground?
Host: WWF-UK
Chair: Stuart Poore, WWF-UK
Gemma Cranston , Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
David Norman, SABMiller
Natural Capital and Food SecurityHow do we manage our natural capital wisely in light of global change? With food security as an example, how can sustainable use of our resources contribute to resolving future challenges?
Chair: Peter Costigan
Tara Garnett, Environmental Change Institute
Allan Buckwell, IEEP
Andrew Clark, NFU
Parallel Sessions 5
Natural Capital and CitiesThis session will investigate how the notion of natural capital can be incorporated into the strategic planning of UK cities.
Chair: Martin Ballard, Willmott Dixon Group
Nick Grayson, Birmingham City Council
Euan Hall, Land Trust
Natural Capital: Finding the Common GroundThis session will explore how the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital came in to being and examine progress during its first year of operation.
Host: Scottish Forum on Natural Capital
Chair: Jo Pike, Scottish Forum on Natural Capital
Bruce Wilson, Scottish Wildlife Trust
Mike Elm, Scottish Forum on Natural Capital
Mary Christie, Scottish Natural Heritage
Developing Natural Capital for InvestorsThe financial industry is beginning to engage with the concept of natural capital. This session will identify ways to make natural capital tangible for investors.
Chair: Sarah Kemmitt, Bank of England
Stephanie Maier, Aviva Investors
Jamie Butterworth, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Justin Atkinson, Alliance Trust
Anders Nordheim, UNEP Financing Initiative
Keynote Addresses
Summary of FindingsMike Acreman, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
The Future of Natural CapitalGeorgina Mace, UCL Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research



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