The Spanish Green Growth Group and Ferrovial place their bets on natural capital as an investment for the future


natural capital
The Spanish Green Growth Group bets on the valuation of natural capital as a first step to subsequently develop strategies and actions which are able to reduce impact, restore or compensate if necessary. The Spanish Green Growth Group, in collaboration with Ferrovial, recently organized a breakfast meeting to discuss natural capital. This has been motivated by the strong value we attribute to earth natural capital, which is a first step to develop strategies and decisions taken in order to whether reduce, restore or make up our impact. Conclusions reached from the meeting: The importance of quantifying natural capital in function of the ecosystem services it offers, this carried out in both the private and public sectors. Likewise, it's considered necessary to develop regulatory frameworks enabling actions of restoration and compensation. This forum opens a door to dialogue between companies and experts, in regards to both the obstacles and opportunities existing for both the public and private sectors in terms of this key asset.

What is natural capital?

Natural capital is described as the flow of goods and services provided by biodiversity and ecosystem services, in a sustainable manner. During the meeting it was pointed out that economic activity depends to some extent on natural capital and in turn can have an impact on it. In addition, the participants have emphasized how the global decline of ecosystems can affect company performance and for this reason have suggested certain initiatives to on one hand assess natural capital and on the other develop the regulatory frameworks that allow long-term restoring actions and compensation initiatives to ensure sustainability. Regarding the need to account for natural capital, the importance of evaluating the cost on the ecosystems in order to generate sustainable growth has been highlighted. According to Fernando Rodriguez, professor of Applied Economics at Salamanca University: "We must value natural capital from an economic point of view with the idea of companies incorporating it directly when having to take decisions." During the forum, it was also stressed that to put stated initiatives into practice there need be a law considering both the importance of natural capital and its restoration.

Business collaboration is key for natural capital

It is key that companies be involved developing strategies and projects concerning natural capital in relation to their business activity. Valentin Alfaya, President of the Spanish Green Growth Group and Director of Quality and Environment at Ferrovial, has proposed environmental taxation as a powerful lever to internalize environmental costs, applying the principle "who contaminates pays and who decontaminates deducts". Likewise, collaboration between large companies and SMEs providing both knowledge and new methodologies will be central to action. Sandra Magro, from the Creando Redes consultancy, made reference to three main areas of opportunity for SMEs in regards to this: "The transfer of knowledge, the implementation of models for natural capital management respecting the Mitigation Hierarchy and environmental innovation in an urban environment." The Spanish Enterprise and Biodiversity Initiative, coordinated by the Biodiversity Foundation, is the best example of how in Spain private-public collaborations are taking place with conservation and restoration of natural capital as the objective. According to Ignacio Torres from the mentioned foundation: "The influence and dependencies of natural capital companies can be summed up in terms of impacts, risks and responsibilities." However, the permanence of natural capital in the territory goes far beyond the competences of the private sector, with which constant interaction with the public sector and administration " will be key when planning industrial activity in the territory and being in alignment with the plans in existence" stated Torres. The academy and third sector have been defined as relevant social representatives as they possess a good part of local knowledge. Finally, it's been pointed out that urban environments are a good for restoration and compensation of natural capital by companies.

The Spanish Green Growth Group

The Spanish Green Growth Group is currently an association of companies promoting public-private collaboration in regards to environmental challenges. Solutions for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, a low carbon economy or the development of a circular economy will come from a business source and are key in a prosperous society. This platform encourages company participation in relevant debates regarding the matter, at both national and international level, information is shared and opportunities for Spanish companies are identified.


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