The Scottish Wildlife Trust believes there is an urgent need for society to gain a better understanding of our impact on the world’s rapidly diminishing natural resources and that Scotland has as an opportunity to lead by example.
By 2030, if we continue along our current path, we will demand twice as many resources as the planet is able to provide.
A rapidly growing number of business and political leaders are recognising that we rely on our natural capital – the world’s natural resources such as water, forests and fish stocks – to provide goods and services vital to economic activity and human well-being (including food, carbon storage and natural flood defences). However, we are depleting this natural capital at an unprecedented rate and action is urgently needed.
Click here to read our briefing on Natural Capital, or find the answers to some frequently asked questions by downloading our FAQs document.
Natural Capital in Scotland
From tourism to the whisky industry, across all sectors of the economy and society, Scotland relies on its natural capital – the natural resources such as water, forests and biodiversity which provide vital goods (such as crops and timber) and services (such as water purification and carbon capture). Restoring and securing our stocks of natural capital is increasingly being recognised as an issue that requires attention from all sectors of society.
Take for example the value of coastal wetlands in Scotland, which has been estimated at between £49-£76 million per year, or that pollination provided by insects is thought to be worth at least £43 million per year to Scotland’s economy.
Despite the great benefits derived from it, Scotland’s natural capital is still being depleted and this is causing new risks to the economy. The effects of this are already starting to be quantified. For instance, the effects of invasive non-native species through impacts such as damage to forestry, crops and infrastructure have been estimated to cost as much as £200 million per year to the Scottish economy.
The Trust’s leadership role
The Trust has been active in promoting an understanding of the economics of ecosystem goods and services for a number of years and published its policy on the subject in 2010. We also have 50 years’ experience of bringing people together to protect our natural environment through our five core values: we pioneer; we lead by example; we inspire; we are inclusive and we collaborate.
The Trust is working on natural capital both as organisers of the World Forum on Natural Capital and as founding partners of the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital. More information can be found below.
Scottish Forum on Natural Capital
The Scottish Forum on Natural Capital was launched in 2013, with the support of the First Minister, at the inaugural World Forum on Natural Capital. The Scottish Forum is a membership based initiative bringing together over 60 public, private and voluntary sector organisations to protect and rebuild Scotland’s natural capital.
The Trust is a founding partner of the Scottish Forum alongside Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group, ICAS, the University of Edinburgh and the Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland.