We are excited to share that three new staff joined us in October to form a shiny new Nature-based Solutions (NbS) team here at the National Landscapes Association.
Now, NbS is nothing new to the network.
But this team will be specifically exploring the opportunities of green finance and private investment as a way of unlocking even bigger and more long-term projects for all our National Landscapes.
Unsure exactly what NbS and green finance are all about?
Here’s a quick overview.
What are nature-based solutions?
A nature-based solution (commonly abbreviated to NbS) is any activity that addresses a societal problem with an environmental solution.
The solution should benefit both people and nature and can take on many different forms.
Here are some examples:
Cornwall National Landscape’s AONBees project. The decline of our precious pollinators could spell disaster for our food systems.
In this project, cutting-edge technology was used to predict the responses of bee colonies to different land management styles.
By better understanding pollinator behaviour, we can protect them and our food systems.
North Pennines National Landscape’s peatland restoration work. The North Pennines team have been actively restoring around 48,000ha of peatland which will stop it emitting carbon and start sequestering more.
It also improves water quality and reduces flooding.
By protecting peatland, we can mitigate the social and environmental effects of climate change.
Kent Downs National Landscape’s Orchards for Everyone project. Kent’s nickname of the “garden of England” is thanks to its biodiverse orchards which are sadly becoming increasingly rare.
This project recruited and trained hundreds of community volunteers to survey, plant, restore, and celebrate these orchards.
This project safeguarded the trees and their ecosystems whilst empowering communities to engage with nature and protect their cultural heritage too.
That’s just the tip of a very green and pleasant iceberg.
You can find many more examples of the amazing NbS work across our landscapes here.
What is green finance?
Green finance is a new term that refers to, as you might expect, the financing of environmental projects. This can mean any number of things from one-off trades to long-term investments that earn returns.
Traditionally, environmental projects have been funded through finite pots of money. These might be single donations, or grants and schemes with expiration dates.
The problem with this approach is the lack of longevity. We can lose the amazing benefits of restoration work if the resources aren’t there to maintain them.
Private investment can help us do more over a much longer period.
And there’s growing demand from the private sector to show us the money, too.
Two regulations; the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and the Task Force on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures require businesses to detail their impact on the environment.
At the time of writing, only the first is mandatory, but it has already prompted widespread efforts to offset emissions.
We could go on, but the landscape is evolving even as we speak.
The regulations and green finance markets are still finding their feet, but they’re making waves.
For those of us in the business of nature, there is cause for significant, yet cautious, optimism.
Bringing green finance into the National Landscapes...
(Left-right) Hannah, Kirsty and Becs in Durham
Hannah, Becs, and Kirsty will be working across the National Landscapes network to scope out where there might be NbS projects prime for green finance.
These “investible propositions” need to be big, so they might be made up of different projects from a variety of landscapes - perhaps grouped by theme.
(But this is yet to be decided).
What has been decided though, is that people and nature will govern everything we do and remain firmly at the heart of any propositions we develop in close partnership with our National Landscapes family.
Because our National Landscapes are living, breathing, working ecosystems.
And that’s what makes them special.
Keen to keep up with us?
As we travel the country and visit the National Landscapes teams, we’ll be posting on the website and across social media.
Follow our accounts to see what we’re up to:
- Rebecca Hunt, NbS Project Officer.