Nature is no longer the forgotten component of the climate crisis.

A seismic shift in thinking has been caused by policies and legislation to address ecological declines, such as Taskforce for Nature Related Financial Disclosures, Biodiversity Net Gain policies for the built environment, and ESG reporting; all of which are creating a flow of investment into nature-related activities and interventions. This increased awareness is encouraging many organisations to take responsibility for understanding how their own operations and supply chains impact nature and what is in their capacity to aid restoration on-site or locally.  

There is a long road ahead to restore our heavily degraded natural environment. The UK has lost 50% of biodiversity, ranking in the worst 10% globally and the worst out of the G7 nations. This challenge must be supported by a market able to respond to it. Green Economy are hoping to explore how we ensure that the skills gap we are seeing within the retrofit sector is not repeated here. The ecosystem of professional services required to restore our natural environment is vast, ranging from ecologists, hydrological engineers, commercial plant nurseries, arborists, urban nature-based solutions specialists, architects and landscape architects. This sector also faces a unique pressure in the ability to provide ongoing maintenance of our natural environment, which is a key barrier for many organisations when adding or increasing the quality and diversity of nature within their sites. 

The variety of skills required to restore our peatland, sustainably manage our woodlands (and handle increased tree planting from offsetting schemes) and revolutionise our urban environments to make space for nature is complex. Many organisations have worked in these areas for decades, but how can we support them and others to grow to meet the demand we are already seeing and will increasingly see? 

A risk laid out in the recent Climate Change Committee report is how current decarbonisation activities do not sufficiently take into consideration climate change adaptation, and in turn, this could then impact the effectiveness of the decarbonisation activities. Utilising nature alongside existing infrastructure brings multiple benefits, one of which being climate resilience, and addressing multiple action areas such as air pollution, water quality and wellbeing. The growing use of sustainable drainage systems integrated into active travel and highways planning is a great example of this. This calls for the sector to explore and collaborate with new organisations to identify new ways to incorporate nature throughout our communities to help protect them and their assets from the effects of climate change whilst creating better places to live and work. 

We are no longer seeking evidence on the benefits of nature to persuade people to act, the sector has progressed the conversation to understanding the ‘how’. This is the key opportunity that the natural environment sector needs to rise to. 

Green Economy are working to grow our natural environment and nature-based solutions suppliers, to understand the range of products and services available for interventions and to provide a local supply chain. For more information contact Sam Hartley:   

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Sam Hartley

Business Advisor

Sam is a business advisor with a breadth of experience assisting clients on their sustainability journeys. She spent the past three years working on the IGNITION Project, aiming to progress investment in Nature Based Solutions (NBS). This reflects Sam’s keen interest in growing the NBS sector to address ecological emergencies. 

Sam’s green sector expertise allows her to understand the needs and drivers of green tech firms, with experience assisting local authorities and universities with sustainable projects. Her primary interests include climate adaptation and resilience, pushing for biodiversity in urban areas.