Metrics and risk register
The Committee is currently working to develop ways of measuring natural capital, and identifying which assets are at risk. This work will help us better understand how the state of our natural assets affects the benefits they can provide to people. The risk assessment will flag up where these benefits are threatened.
What are natural capital metrics?
A metric is a system of measurement. The Natural Capital Committee is currently working to develop a system of measurement for natural capital. Ultimately, we want to measure changes to our natural assets directly. In addition, metrics will allow us to assess the quantity, quality and location of our natural capital. They will also help us to determine how the state of our natural capital assets affects the benefits they can provide to people.
Why do natural capital metrics matter?
The measurement of natural capital is an emerging field of study. There are currently no agreed metrics to measure natural assets, despite their importance for our prosperity and wellbeing.
We need to keep track of the state of our natural capital and gain a better understanding of how our actions could undermine or enhance the benefits provided by nature.
As many of the vital services that our natural assets supply - such as clean air, clean water and flood defences - do not have a conventional ‘market value’, they are often taken for granted and eroded.
Developing metrics for natural capital will allow us to make better decisions about how it should be managed and flag up where our patterns of use are unsustainable.
What is a natural capital risk register?
The Committee's risk assessment for natural capital highlights where the benefits we derive from natural capital are most at risk. The Committee's initial risk assessment for natural capital was published in its second State of Natural Capital report on 11th March 2014.
Why does a natural capital risk register matter?
The Natural Capital Committee has been asked to advise the Government on "when, where and how natural assets are being used unsustainably". The risk register is a crucial component of this advice, as it will flag up where human activity threatens to impact on the level of essential goods and benefits currently provided by natural capital.
The Committee's work to develop metrics and assess the risk to natural capital has been supported by two closely related research projects. One of these projects has built upon the Committee's conceptual framework to produce an initial suite of metrics and risk register and the other has reviewed the available data on natural capital and evidence for restoration feasibility, timescales and cost. These projects have informed the summary presented in the second State of Natural Capital report, the final reports from the projects are available below and across.