2017 World Forum on Natural Capital opens in Edinburgh

Better Decisions for a Better World – Edinburgh takes centre stage in bringing natural capital into mainstream decision-making

The 2017 World Forum on Natural Capital opens today (Monday, 27 November) at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. For the next two days the event will welcome over 700 people from 60 nations. A particular focus of discussions will be around putting natural capital at the heart of the green economy, with a strong focus on mainstreaming natural capital considerations into decision-making, benefiting the bottom line as well as the planet.
Among the wide range of globally recognised organisations being represented are the United Nations Environment Programme, International Finance Corporation, NASA, INTERPOL, WWF, One Young World, European Investment Bank, Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa, and universities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Stanford.
Some of the key name speakers include:
  • Nicola Sturgeon MSP and First Minister for Scotland
  • Katherine Garret-Cox, CEO of the Gulf International Bank (UK) and former Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Trust PLC
  • Phillipe Joubert, Founder and CEO of Earth on Board and the Chair of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group.
  • Dr Mary Kitutu, Minister of State for Environment in the Ugandan Government
  • Inger Andersen, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature
  • Dr Richard Mattison, Chief Executive Officer of Trucost, part of S&P Dow Jones Indices
  • Mathis Wackernagel, President, Global Footprint Network
Over two days, delegates will have a unique opportunity to engage in high-level discussions and examine how natural capital relates to their own long-term strategy. Better management of natural capital will not only help provide solutions to tackle some of the biggest global challenges, including climate change, resource scarcity and biodiversity loss, but will also drive innovation.
In a range of inspiring and interactive sessions, speakers from around the world will offer insights into the latest major natural capital trends, including the shift towards a circular economy. The World Forum will also explore how natural capital thinking is driving innovation with some cutting-edge case studies that demonstrate the benefits of putting it at the heart of decision-making.
Over the two days the key aims are to help delegates:
–          Identify the high-level natural capital risks most relevant to their sector (which include higher costs of raw materials, increasing difficulty securing finance, reputational risks, fines associated with increasing regulation)
–          Understand the financial implications of poor management of natural capital
–          Develop strategies to avoid volatility in the supply chain
–          Navigate their way through the range of natural capital tools available
–          Understand how better management of natural capital can help create competitive advantage
–          Consider the impact of changing expectations amongst consumers and shareholders
The 2017 World Forum is once again being organised by the Scottish Wildlife Trust in association with UN Environment; WBCSD; International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Natural Capital Coalition and the Green Economy Coalition.
Jonny Hughes, CEO of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Co-Founder of the World Forum, said: “We are excited to be welcoming so many cutting edge thinkers, innovators and decision makers from across the world to Edinburgh for a third time. More delegates than ever will be joining the World Forum this year, showing there is growing momentum behind valuing and safeguarding natural capital assets at both business and government levels.
“I am proud that Scotland is really starting to take a leadership role on Natural Capital. We were the first country to develop a detailed index on our natural capital assets allowing us to track the status of our soils, water and biodiversity. The Scottish Government has also included the enhancement of natural capital as an explicit aim of its economic strategy in recognition that a strong economy fundamentally depends on a healthy environment.
“Ultimately nature is priceless, but it is not valueless. The urgent challenge facing us in the next decade is move quickly towards a more mature economics where nature’s value is understood and accounted for in business and government policy decisions. The quiet revolution happening with natural capital will help us all make better decisions for a better world.”
Recent research carried out by the Central Scotland Green Network with the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital showed that over 70% of businesses in Central Scotland believe that urgent action is necessary to protect and enhance Scotland’s natural capital. The research also revealed that over 60% of businesses see natural capital as important to their organisation.
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