Who we are

The Natural Capital Initiative (NCI) is a partnership of four leading UK science organisations, including the Royal Society of Biology, British Ecological Society, Centre fore Ecology & Hydrology, and the James Hutton Institute.

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What we do

NCI’s mission is to support decision-making that results in the sustainable management of our natural capital. We do this by:

  • Initiating and facilitating dialogue between people from academia, policy, business and civil society who make or influence decisions to find common problems and shared solutions; and
  • Communicating independent, authoritative synthesis and evaluation of the scientific evidence base.

The application of ecological and biological sciences is central to our work. NCI champions:

  • Policy- and decision- making based on scientific evidence.
  • Transdisciplinary, cross-sector engagement.
  • A whole-systems perspective that seeks to develop our resilience to global change.
  • A positive approach that aims to identify pragmatic solutions for a more sustainable world.

Our activities

Since 2009, NCI has convened events attended by over 1,000 professionals to address issues such as environmental monitoring, flood risk management, linking natural environment and human health, biodiversity offsetting, and engaging citizens in decision-making.

NCI has held two major ‘Valuing our Life Support Systems’ summits in 2009 and 2014, providing an opportunity to take stock of the evidence base regarding the natural capital approach. These summits cover a broad range of topics, and facilitate new relationships for the initiative.

We hold regular Dialogue Sessions;  small, topic-focused workshops or breakfast briefings that are often held in partnership with other initiatives and organisations. Dialogue Sessions bring together experts from academia, policy and business, to identify shared solutions and promote interdisciplinary approaches, and feed in to the Valuing our Life Support System summits.

Our impact

NCI has seen tremendous growth in activity surrounding the natural capital concept since our inaugural summit in 2009. Increasingly, people have come together to research valuation and monitoring techniques,  and explore policy and business developments. NCI acts as a forum for these sometimes disparate groups, ensuring a frank and open space to discuss the opportunities, challenges and ethical considerations of the natural capital approach. NCI’s basis in sound science has a vital role to play – robust ecological and biological evidence relating our natural capital is key to ensuring that our natural environment is valued appropriately and managed sustainably.

NCI reports have been quoted in parliamentary debates, and at Policy Exchange events. We have been invited to speak at Cabinet Office meetings, and have collaborated on the launch of POSTnotes within Westminster. NCI partners have contributed their expertise to the ISO committee on the monitory valuation of environmental impacts from emissions and use of natural resources, and have engaged with the Natural Capital Committee work on monitoring.

We regularly collaborate with other initiatives, institutions and individuals in the natural capital sector, including the Ecosystems Knowledge Network and the European Centre for Environment & Human Health.

Please contact us if you would like to collaborate with NCI.