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Published On: Fri, May 10th, 2013 at 3:53pm

World Forum on Natural Capital 2013 in Edinburgh

The very first World Forum on Natural Capital is being organised by Scottish Wildlife Trust and it will take place at the EICC in Edinburgh in November 2013. This event will debate the topic of natural capital accounting and then turn it into action. A big ask? It certainly is. But it is an event designed to build upon the discussions and interest from many sectors at the United Nations Earth Summit held in Rio in 2012.

Against this backdrop of increasing international interest in how we value the economic benefits we derive from our natural environment, business leaders, policy makers and sustainability leaders from around the world will gather in Scotland’s capital.

Since the Rio summit in June 2012, there has been a groundswell of private sector interest in the concept of natural capital accounting. As the first major global conference devoted to turning the emerging debate into action, the World Forum on Natural Capital aims to widen understanding of the implications for businesses and the risks of ignoring ‘invisible’ assets.

This video might explain the idea to you as it attempts to answer the question: What is Nature Worth?

  • Natural capital is the value of nature to people, society, businesses and the economy. It is the stocks of physical and biological resources and the capacity of ecosystems to provide a flow of services that contribute to human wellbeing and sustainable development.
  • A report published on 15 April 2013 by the TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) for Business Coalition, “Natural Capital at Risk: The Top 100 Externalities of Business”, estimates that the world’s primary production (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, mining, oil and gas exploration, utilities) and primary processing (cement, steel, pulp and paper, petrochemicals) sectors have externality costs totalling US $7.3 trillion, which equates to 13% of global economic output in 2009. The value of the Top 100 externalities is estimated at US$4.7 trillion or 65% of the total primary sector impacts identified.
  • The Future We Want, the outcome document from Rio+20 (the United Nations Earth Summit in June 2012), made many references to the importance of the private sector. These included the following: “268. We recognize that a dynamic, inclusive, well-functioning, socially and environmentally responsible private sector is a valuable instrument that can offer a crucial contribution to economic growth and reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development…”

Delegates from throughout the world are expected to attend the event, which is supported by major business and environmental organisations including the United Nations Environment Programme; World Business Council for Sustainable Development; International Union for Conservation of Nature; TEEB  for Business Coalition; and The Wildlife Trusts.

The World Forum on Natural Capital will take place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 21-22 November 2013. Booking details here. 

The confirmed list of speakers includes the outgoing CEO of power giant SSE, Ian Marchant, along with Dieter Helm who is Chair of DEFRA Natural Capital Committee.

Tony Juniper, an independent sustainability and environment adviser, is also a confirmed speaker at the conference. Juniper gave a TED talk at TEDxExeter which you can watch her to get some idea of what he will be talking about in November.

and many other eminent speakers. All details are here on the Natural Capital Forum website.

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About the Author


Founding Editor of The Edinburgh Reporter.
Edinburgh-born multimedia journalist, and always available for freelance work.
A keen iPhoneographer!

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