Hammerson and Sir Robert McAlpine Natural Capital Workshop

4 Nov 2016

Hammerson and Sir Robert McAlpine Natural Capital Workshop

Having collaborated with Sir Robert McAlpine on a project to review the natural capital impacts of different technologies, we held a joint workshop to debate and discuss the findings. Bringing a good mix of expertise into the room including architects, costing consultants, contractors, other landlords, investors and finance people, we were able to set out the natural capital impacts of a set of technologies alongside and in similar language to the financial impacts. It also produced some quite challenging questions on the data and sources behind the modelling for Caroline Bartlett from Trucost who I am pleased to say was more than a match for the true geeks amongst us!

Monetising the impacts of a technology on the air we breathe, water we rely on, soils, minerals and many other natural capitals that are currently completely excluded from the decision-making process, can be very revealing. It is still difficult for a company to fully internalise these impacts as we are currently not paying directly for the natural capitals we use. But understanding what these costs are will certainly help us make more informed decisions with a much clearer understanding of the wider impacts of procurement and other decisions. One set of decisions might seem obvious from an immediate financial capital point of view, but may well generate greater societal costs, also born by businesses and the wider public, in the form of increased health care costs or reduced productivity. We will all ultimately benefit from better decision-making now.

The next step for us will be running a natural capital analysis of proposed investment in renewables. Projects that might be quite marginal in terms of financial capital could look different or be viewed differently by the company once the natural capital implications are revealed.

A summary of the workshop findings can be downloaded here.

The summary and full reports from the Natural Capital research can be downloaded from the Hammerson Positive Places web pages here