Leading conservation charity, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, is extending a huge thank you to all the partners, supporters, sponsors, volunteers and delegates who helped make the inaugural World Forum on Natural Capital such a resounding success.
The World Forum, held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 21 and 22 November, saw 500 delegates from 35 countries – business leaders, environmental experts, NGOs, academics and government representatives – come together to address the issue of our over-use of the planet’s vital resources. The purpose of the event was to help turn the debate on how we value our natural capital into action.
After the conference was opened by Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Simon Milne, a message from the Trust’s Patron – HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay – was read to delegates, commending the Trust for raising this vital issue.
This was followed by a video of support from the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, who attended the Rio +20 summit last year.
Natural Capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. It is from this Natural Capital that humans derive a wide range of services, often called ecosystem services, which make human life possible.
Two short videos were shown in the opening and closing plenaries at the conference, explaining why natural capital is important and why it is important for businesses to account for their use of it. One was produced by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the other was by Iain Woodhouse, Professor of Applied Earth Observation at University of Edinburgh, and his thirteen-year-old son.
Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Simon Milne, said: “Biodiversity loss is taking place at an alarming rate and there is increasing recognition from a wide spectrum of conservation organisations that all parts of society must be part of the solution. The World Forum on Natural Capital addressed the increasingly vital issue of how businesses and governments can account for their use of our natural capital, creating debate, and, importantly, how to turn that debate into action.
“However, the Trust could not have done this alone. Thanks go to our partners: the United Nations Environment Programme; International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Business Council for Sustainable Development; TEEB for Business Coalition and The Wildlife Trusts. We would also like to thank our headline sponsor, The Royal Bank of Scotland, our Principal Media Partner, Guardian Sustainable Business, and all our other sponsors, media partners, supporters and volunteers for giving their valuable time to assist and make the conference such a success.
“The Scottish Wildlife Trust believes that this is one of the most pressing issues facing the world of conservation – because if it is not addressed, living sustainably on our planet will not be possible.
“Now is the time to take the discussions from the World Forum on Natural Capital and start making significant changes to the way we use our natural capital.
“This is why during the conference, the Scottish forum on Natural Capital was launched – to show that Scotland can be a leader in this vital area.” The Founding Partners of the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital are the Scottish Wildlife Trust; Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group; University of Edinburgh; ICAS and IoD Scotland. More information can be found at www.naturalcapitalscotland.com
The next World Forum on Natural Capital will be held in 2015.