Prince Charles urges rethink on natural capital

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Prince Charles has called on business leaders to act now to save the world’s natural capital.

In a video message to a global gathering in Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales lamented the “economic invisibility of nature” and warned of a failure to “run the global bank that we call our planet in a responsible and competent manner”.

He told delegates to “act now before it is too late”.The Prince was speaking at the World Forum on Natural Capital.

“I think there is an urgent need for collaboration, sharing of knowledge and a drive to do things differently,” he told the audience.

Speaking as patron of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, which organised the two-day event, Prince Charles said: “The value of the planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity has not been taken into account fully and consistently in our decision-making systems.

“We are facing what can only be described as a cataclysm of events which pose a real threat to our survival.”

Natural capital describes the planet’s stocks of natural assets, such as soil, air, water and all living things.

Many high-profile reports and studies have identified the range of vital services the natural world provides, such as clean air and clean water. However, these stocks are being depleted at an unsustainable rate.

Petrina Rowcroft, associate, Climate Change and Ecosystems, AECOM, says: “Despite increasing awareness of the concepts of natural capital and ecosystem services, many businesses are yet to fully reflect the value of the natural environment in their corporate policy and decision-making.

“While efforts are made to protect business reputation, less attention is given to the potential threat to business continuity and the bottom line due to diminishing stocks of natural capital.”

She adds: “With many companies highly dependent on nature to carry out day-to-day operations, it is critical that businesses recognise the significance of natural capital and the potential threat to business continuity.

“It’s great that momentum is building around the subject but the important next step will be to reach a wider audience so that natural capital really can become a boardroom issue.”

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