5 key takeaways from the South Downs National Park Green Finance Summit


On Thursday 23rd May, Becs from our Nature-based Solutions team attended the South Downs National Park Green Finance Summit.

Here are some of her key learnings.

Habitat banking could help us maximise BNG

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) won’t solve all our problems, but done right, it could be a powerful tool for Nature recovery.

Rather than delivering small patches of restoration around a single development which might compromise connectivity and as a result, quality, habitat banking allows us to merge efforts.

Restoration happens in one larger area and generates credits that multiple developers can buy, ensuring that the right work happens in the right place and at a meaningful scale.

Watch this video about Plymouth City Council’s habitat bank project.

Supply is growing, but is demand?

The supply of high-integrity nature-based solutions projects is on the rise. This is fantastic news and shows a real push in the sector for ambitious programs of work large enough to receive more funding than we’ve ever seen before. But will the buyers be there?

We may be developing these projects in an echo chamber and need to engage our buyers now, at these early stages.

We shouldn’t assume they’ll be there. Not yet.

Learn how to identify and engage buyers with the Green Finance Institute.

We need c-suite engagement from the start

We need the Board and c-suite executives out on the ground much earlier. It seems that accessing these top-level decision-makers is the hardest yard in activating green finance partnerships, so they need to be engaged first.

If you’re going to the effort of meeting potential partners in person and immersing them in a priority area, make sure it’s the right people.

Stop calling nature markets “the wild west”

Nature markets are new, but investors are confident in their potential for growth and for Nature itself to become an asset class. So, whilst there is risk and things are still evolving, referring to the space as “confusing”, “murky” or “the wild west” is unhelpful.

In fact, it's none of these things, and countries across the globe are formulating the frameworks, regulations, and guidance for practitioners to meaningfully engage with them.

We need to lead the charge in communicating about these markets responsibly, constructively, and mindfully.

A restoration economy is the bigger goal

Our economic model is, at its core, extractive. We need a system that puts back what it takes (with interest). Our work may sometimes feel piecemeal, but we are placing the building blocks of a foundational shift, and we must not lose sight of the bigger picture.

Find out how protected landscapes are exploring a Doughnut Economics model.

A huge thanks to the entire SDNPA team and speakers for an inspiring and energising day in a truly stunning location.

Interested in more learnings like this?

Check out Bec's key takeaways from the Environmental Finance conference and what investors are looking for in Nature recovery investments.