Our natural and built environments are intricately linked, yet the application of natural capital concepts to construction industry practices is far from mainstream, and there still remains some uncertainty around the true impact placed on the natural environment. NCI has identified this as a key gap in ensuring that natural capital is economically and financially visible in decision-making. Representatives of the construction sector been involved in NCI events and dialogues in the past and have found that the engagement with NCI has helped raise awareness around natural capital issues.

“NCI is a powerful resource with a wide range of expertise and is great at connecting people around the theme of natural capital.” Lizzie Rendell, Skanska

There has recently been exciting new developments around integrating natural capital concepts into construction industry decision making, including risk management, exploring new revenue streams, improving products and value chain innovation, as well as preparing for future reporting and disclosure. The Natural Capital Protocol, for instance, is an example of such a tool.

To help build capacity further within the construction industry, NCI is working in collaboration with CIRIA (Construction Industry Research & Information Association) to bring together industry stakeholders, academia, and policy makers to explore what these new tools mean and how can they can be tailored to inform day-to-day operations.

“This partnership allows industry stakeholders to directly engage with academia and policy makers – promoting future dialogue.” Michael Small, CIRIA

The first joint activity will be a workshop on 6 October 2016 that aims to explore the Natural Capital Protocol and its impact on the construction industry (see our blog for an introduction to the Protocol). The workshop aims to understand its impact, and will have a distinctly practical focus, allowing for the identification and discussion of how the Protocol can be applied to construction industry operations on the ground. Please contact us if you are interested in participating. In addition, there are some limited opportunities to sponsor this meeting.

NCI is also supporting the Ecosystems Knowledge Network meeting on Building Prosperous Cities, in London on 27 September 2016. This one-day conference will focus on determining what the added value of natural capital – and its well-established relation ‘green infrastructure’ – means for the planning and management of UK cities.