Nestle & National Trust jump aboard Green Alliance nature crusade

Environmental think tank Green Alliance has partnered with Nestlé and the National Trust for the launch of two new projects which aim to address the UK Government's "failures" surrounding the decline of the nation's natural environment.

The two aligned but distinct projects form part of the Alliance’s new Natural Environment  programme, which seeks to curb the long-term decline in the health of the UK’s natural environment.

Green Alliance director Matthew Spencer said: “We are still struggling to balance the twin needs of agricultural production and restoring the health of our natural environment. This government has come to power with a promise to create a 25 year plan to restore nature.

“But it will require renewed political leadership, new policy ideas, and new thinking on our relationship with natural resources. We aim to support this necessary shift with workable new practices and policies that enable us to thrive and develop alongside natural systems, and within natural limits.”

New thinking

The project backed by Nestlé will involve work with business and civil society partners to identify how to turn new thinking about the economic value of natural capital into practical policy to arrest nature’s decline and restore the health of the natural environment.

Nestlé SA’s assistant vice president Duncan Pollard said: “We are very excited to be working with Green Alliance on this project. The thinking behind the concept of natural capital is advancing rapidly, and this project will allow us to help shape the incentives that can guide further actions by land owners, companies in the value chain that are dependent upon nature, governments and civil society to help the UK restore the nature upon which we depend.”

Land management

Meanwhile, in collaboration with the National Trust – which owns more than 250,000 hectares of land in the UK – Green Alliance will be exploring new models for profitable land management that also help to protect and enhance natural systems. After an initial scoping phase, the plan is to develop a wider collaboration with other organisations committed to developing a new economics of land management that benefits both nature and people.

The National Trust’s rural enterprises director Patrick Begg said: “A major reason for nature’s decline is that land is managed in a way that erodes natural capital. We are living off the capital not the interest, mining rather than harvesting. As a major private landowner also focused on delivering wider public benefit, we want to use our position to explore economically viable, alternative ways of managing land that protect and restore nature for the benefit of all.

“We want to achieve this by doing not talking, and by working with others.  This will be a big collective national effort on a big collective national problem.”

Green Alliance announced its intention to increase its focus on the natural environment in its 2015-18 strategy. The Natural Environment theme complements existing Green Alliance themes on Resource Stewardship, Low Carbon Energy, and Political Leadership.

Luke Nicholls

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