Understanding Natural Capital

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The best things in life are free. Besides family and friendship, many people would put their experiences with nature near the top of the list. But is nature truly free, or can it actually be assigned a dollar value? Increasingly, ecologists and conservationists are stressing the need to quantify the services that nature provides. A real understanding of this value – now estimated to be in the tens of trillions of dollars, globally – may be the key to changing the way governments, corporations, and individuals view the natural environment.

Alison Holt, the director of Natural Capital Solutions, draws on her diverse experience as a researcher, consultant, and organizer to educate people about ‘natural capital.’ By couching the value of nature in financial terms, businesses and policy-makers can more easily grasp the concept and make meaningful changes towards sustainability and environmental responsibility. Hear Alison explain the ins-and-outs of natural capital, and how we can apply it to real-life situations.

In this episode:

+ Learn why putting a price tag on natural services is not only essential for environmental protection, but also for the resilience of individual businesses and the economy at large

+ Alison explains the relationship between natural capital and ecosystem services through an easy to comprehend financial analogy

+ How an understanding of natural capital can help businesses operate both more efficiently and more sustainably

+ Why all businesses, including those with no obvious connection to land use, have a shared responsibility to manage natural capital

+ Recommendations for how businesses can incorporate natural capital into their decision-making process

+ Alison’s personal story of growing up in the suburbs and finding inspiration in nature

“Businesses need to think about their business processes, how their processes can connect with the environment, what resources they are using and basically how they impact on the environment, in order to understand how they can change those processes.”Alison Holt
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