2016 in Review

22nd December 2016

2016 in review

The Scottish Forum on Natural Capital has had some notable success in 2016 and there have been exciting developments in the natural capital space in Scotland and internationally, here we round up some of the highlights.

We are grateful to our 2016 funders the Scottish Government and The Wildlife Trusts, and also to the in-kind support from the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Institute of Directors Scotland, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), University of Edinburgh and RSPB Scotland.

The high-level Steering Group of the Scottish Forum has continued to develop and this year we’ve welcomed two exciting additions to the Steering Group, Terry A’hearn, Chief Executive of SEPA and Andrew Cave, Head of Corporate Governance at Baillie Gifford. The Steering Group elected David Wood, Executive Director of Policy Leadership at ICAS as the new Deputy Chair. Jonny Hughes, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, was elected as Chair.

The diverse membership of the Scottish Forum, which includes over 70 organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors has continued to grow with new members including ScottishPower, the MacRobert Trust and Malcolm Hollis LLP.

A key development has been the refresh of the Scottish Forum's Strategy. The Strategy builds on our strategic framework which focuses on priority impact areas of Policy & Legislation, Knowledge & Innovation and Catalysing Action. For each impact area the Scottish Forum Steering Group has identified three long-term strategic aims which will be led by members of the Steering Group.

Impact through Collaborative Action

    Natural Capital Protocol
    At a glance briefing

This year saw the launch of the Natural Capital Protocol, a new global standardised framework that has been developed by the Natural Capital Coalition, a collaboration of over 200 global businesses and organisations including the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital.

The Scottish Forum has begun to work with a number of our members from different business sectors to take forward work to trial the Natural Capital Protocol in their operations to better understand their relationship with natural assets such as rivers, land, minerals and biodiversity.

Following the release of the Natural Capital Protocol, the Scottish Forum launched a “Natural Capital Navigation” signposting page of briefings, tools, resources & guidance to drive understanding of natural capital's importance for your organisation's board members and practitioners.

In October the Scottish Forum collaborated with the Ecosystems Knowledge Network and the Irish Forum on Natural Capital to run a webinar for members on Applying the Natural Capital Protocol. The webinar included an overview of the Protocol and an example of its application by Yorkshire Water.

Impact through Policy & Legislation

The Scottish Government’s update of the National Performance Framework (NPF), published in March, included “Increase natural capital” as one of five new National Indicators. The Scottish Forum had been calling for a natural capital indicator within the National Performance Framework and welcomed the inclusion of this new National Indicator.

“Scotland is rich in natural capital. Developing and managing these resources well is vital to supporting a vibrant and strong economy, particularly in rural areas. Currently Scotland’s natural environment is worth more than £20 billion per annum and it supports more than 60,000 jobs.”

The Government's programme for Scotland 2016-17

The Scottish Forum was encouraged to see the Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2016-17, published in September, including reference to the importance of natural capital to Scotland’s economy and as an asset to be developed and managed well:

Jonny Hughes, Chair of the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital and Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust was invited to present to the Scottish Governments Directors’ Network about the potential benefits of natural capital to Scotland. The Scottish Government Directors Network includes senior level civil servants from across all departments of the Government, presenting to this diverse group is a sign of how natural capital considerations are moving into the mainstream.

Impact through Knowledge & Innovation

In October the Scottish Forum brought together business leaders from listed companies to SMEs for a business breakfast about “Directing for resilience: how can board members create resilient business models?”. The event prompted a number of the participants to consider for the first time the impacts and dependencies of their businesses on natural capital.

Scotland's role as a nation leading on natural capital was highlighted at the Irish Forum on Natural Capital's 'Making Nature Count' conference in Dublin. Scottish Forum on Natural Capital Steering Group members Gary Gillespie, Chief Economic Adviser of the Scottish Government and Jo Pike, Project Director of the World Forum on Natural Capital were among the speakers.

In November the Scottish Forum organised a break-out session at the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s Global Water Stewardship Forum with Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scotch Whisky Association, James Hutton Institute and Scottish Water. The "Water's in a Dram" session was designed to help delegates understand the importance of natural capital in achieving good water stewardship.

To a successful 2017

The Scottish Forum would like to thank everyone who has collaborated and been part of our work in 2016 and we look forward to working together in 2017.