Natural Capital

“Sustainability requires maintaining life-supporting natural capital in order for our socio-economic goals to be met.”

Warren Flint

Natural Capital is defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets – these include geology, soil air, water, and all living things. It includes the stock of renewable and non-renewable resources that combine to yield a flow of benefits to people.

It is from this natural capital that we benefit from a wide range of services, which makes our lives possible.

Natural Capital Approach

The Natural Capital approach is to identify the value of stocks and quantify them in ways that helps decision makers understand the relationships between their activities and nature. The Natural Capital approach assesses activities and ideas and recognises the impacts and effects on natural stocks and flows. The aim is to influence decision-making to reduce negative impacts on our natural environment, and maximise resilience and sustainability in order that current and future generations have access to the same, if not better, natural assets.

In working with landowners and businesses, the Sustainable Land Trust uses the Natural Capital Approach to show nature’s (often hidden) social, cultural, spiritual, environmental and economic values. 
We use the range of ecosystems services provided by nature to assess the impacts of ideas and decisions with the aim of selecting those providing the least harm, and the most benefits.