In this second article following our conference with the CBI and Lloyds Bank, ‘Nature: a business imperative', we share insights from the panellists on how businesses can go about prioritising nature positivity in their strategies and what's next for metrics and reporting.

Rohit Kaushish, chief economics director at the NFU, highlighted that careful consideration is needed to protect dynamic natural systems, and Alan Law, deputy chief executive of Natural England, said it’s only when companies choose to put time, money and investment into this that progress can be made. Climate is context-specific and what works for some businesses may not work for others.

Strategic priority

Maria Connolly, head of future energy and real estate at TLT, shared that putting sustainability at the heart of an organisation’s strategy will help to accelerate its progress.

In order for businesses to start developing a nature and biodiversity strategy, Dr Sarah Peers, group head of sustainability at Spirax Sarco Engineering plc and Rosie Dunscombe, independent consultant at Capitals Coalition noted the importance of taking a holistic approach. Organisations need to make sure they have an overall vision of what they want to achieve, alongside an understanding of how this fits with what others are doing. Only then should businesses consider the tools, mechanics and metrics of how they will achieve their targets.

Rosie said that instead of only presenting nature protection as a moral argument, which can fall down the list of priorities, the business challenges and opportunities nature can present should be made more visible. Dr Sam Bridgewater, head of conservation and wildlife at Clinton Devon Estates shared that a clear purpose and strategy can ensure nature is discussed at every board meeting, helping to make this central to wider business planning.

William Baldwin-Cantello, director of nature-based solutions at WWF, highlighted the importance of an approach that meets the needs of the population and reaching net zero while also reversing biodiversity loss. These three things need to be thought about together to understand synergies and trade-offs when implementing the business strategy.


For Helen Taylor, founding director of One Blue Marble, energy, transport and food are key. This can then be developed to allow space for nature-based strategies.

William noted the importance of designing interventions in partnership with the people who will be experiencing them. If strategies go against the interests of people, this ultimately goes against what nature-based solutions really are. Collaboration is key to protecting nature and it was agreed that while there are always leaders and laggards, best practice should be shared to help connect the dots.

Collaborating across the business is also key; nature-focused initiatives are a great opportunity to engage with employees around the world on something tangible. Helen also noted that competition between different departments can help encourage wider employee engagement with biodiversity.


It is common to find that businesses struggle with capturing the value-add of nature targets. Sam shared that the benefits are vast, but specific outcomes can’t always be guaranteed, and businesses need to get comfortable with that. William added that being able to demonstrate impact has held back nature-based solutions, and highlighted the need for better metrics and transparency.

Colin Skellett, CEO of Wessex Water, explained that there’s no shortage of finance available, but investors like certainty and a set narrative from government would help to open up more funding opportunities for businesses.

Businesses should also be prepared to think beyond financial targets. For example, nature positivity creates new opportunities to engage with colleagues on a topic that’s important to them, which can help with recruitment and retention. Sarah highlighted that biodiversity is tangible - you can see, smell and get involved with nature, unlike carbon-related targets for example.

Read our first article on The business imperative of nature-based strategies 

Date published

10 November 2022



View all