EXECUTIVE PERSPECTIVE: A Turning Point in Recognizing Natural Capital Risks?

Oct 25, 2013 12:00 PM ET
Article

Two events in the UK’s House of Commons this week could mark a turning point in recognition of an invisible risk to the world’s economy – how natural capital underpins the security of our financial system.

On Monday, for the first time in its almost 900 year history, Parliament debated the importance of “the bounty of nature” to the economy. This surely must be a landmark in human evolution, let alone politics! For too long the services provided by natural capital, that’s clean air, fresh water, natural forests and oceans of fish, have been taken for granted, so businesses have squandered them as rapidly as a plunderer of family silver.

On Wednesday 23rd October 2013, MPs, NGOs, academics and businesses met in the House of Commons under the All Party Parliamentary Group on Biodiversity[i], to consider how governments should measure what we are all losing, in a process called “natural capital accounting”. So, are MPs in the UK’s House of Commons about to order nature’s precious vaults to be closed for business? Historic degradation of our woodland resource has left us with little natural forest cover – ancient woodlands cover only 2% of the UK land area, so isn’t it about time?[ii]

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