Water sector partnership sets natural capital approach principles for future investment decisions
The Water Industry Forum, working with Water UK’s Environment Policy Advisory Group members, through Welsh Water and supported by Atkins, has produced a set of principles to guide the water sector on the use and application of Natural Capital type approaches in investment decision making.
“The importance of natural capital cannot be underestimated as our industry strives to do its part to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, and help the UK transition to a Net Zero future. At Atkins, we thrive on these kind of projects, and it’s a real privilege for us to have been working with Water Industry Forum, water companies and regulators to create a framework which puts natural capital at the heart of our engineering and asset management decision making. The UK Water Industry has taken a leading position, which is likely to benefit other sectors that follow.”
The principles say that Natural Capital approaches should aim to:
- facilitate balanced decisions that will meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
- create benefits across a broad range of outcomes beyond individual targets, for environment and society
- offer best value options for environment, and stakeholders.
The guidance says that a Natural Capital Assessment approach should be well evidenced, highlighting the social, economic, and environmental wellbeing of communities as well as aligned with national policy. It also recognises that:
- any such systems based decision-making approach will result in some difficult trade-offs being required
- not all are necessarily practicable, or even appropriate in terms of applying such an approach to all investment decisions.
The full list of principles are set out in the Water Industry Forum report ‘Natural Capital Principles for the Water Industry’.