• by Karma Loveday

Water firms among business giants calling for green research investment

Major investment into research and innovation (R&I) is needed to enable UK businesses to address the global biodiversity and climate crises, according to a new report from the Valuing Nature Programme ­­– which brings together businesses, research institutions, government agencies and NGOs.

The report, Towards a natural assets research and innovation agenda in support of UK business and policy found the UK business community needs access to solid scientific research to better measure and value nature in both non-monetary and monetary terms; to better assess business impacts and dependencies on nature; to make better business decisions and develop new business models that reduce impacts on nature; and to report on and disclose these impacts and dependencies.

It said in turn, this will help the UK deliver on its net zero greenhouse gas emissions target and ambition to reverse biodiversity loss, and enable transition towards a more resilient and sustainable post-pandemic economy.

The specific R&I needs highlighted in the report included:

• improving business-relevant research and data on natural assets;

• developing frameworks/standards that level the playing field for businesses taking action for nature;

• expanding pilot projects developing new business models and solutions to protect and restore natural assets;

• developing efficient natural asset markets, and stimulating investment in business solutions that deliver gains for nature;

• assessing business risks and resilience in relation to natural assets; and

• enhancing knowledge exchange between academia and business and providing training for both academics and business professionals on measuring and valuing natural assets for business.

The study is based on feedback from 200 organisations across of range of sectors, including Thames Water, United Utilities, Barclays, Nestle, Mott McDonald, National Grid and WSP.