Rural stakeholders regularly make decisions that impact the environment and society, whether they are land or property managers, natural capital investors or off-setters. Many people find the breadth of options daunting, so we’ve formed ten key principles to help guide rural decision-makers when it matters the most.
Anybody investing in, owning, or managing rural land and property has a unique opportunity to provide huge benefits to society and the environment.
Whether it’s offsetting carbon emissions, boosting biodiversity or providing local communities with new facilities, however, rural stakeholders face a plethora of options when it comes to how they utilise the land.
Making the right decisions – ones that provide the maximum benefits to both the environment and society – has never been more important, and various industry bodies have issued a raft of guides spanning everything from woodland management to social value and embodied carbon in an attempt to provide a starting point. Yet, stakeholders often find the breadth of options daunting, so we’ve sought to condense and simplify these principles into just ten that we believe best enable everybody to make the most out of their land and property.
Consider both positive and negative impacts on all four types of capital, which are Economic, Human, Social and Natural, when making any decisions.
Carbon is just one issue to consider. Decisions should also consider energy, pollution, water quality and quantity, inequality, biodiversity and food supply.
Think about what you can do to play your part in reducing climate change, biodiversity loss crises and impacts on people.
Your decisions are likely to create benefits that could be shared between you, tenants, neighbours, the local community and possibly the general public. NB This does not necessarily mean making payments to the community but it could do; it could involve local procurement or public access.
For decisions that affect local communities or very large areas, engage with those local communities, rather like you would for major planning and development schemes.
If you are buying property or changing the way it is used, engage with the local community as soon as you can to inform and discuss your future plans and maybe identify opportunities to collaborate. Avoid negatively affecting or taking away any rights that the community has benefited from.
Identify what is environmentally or culturally important on your property or land and make sure it is in good condition. Restoration is one of the cheapest and quickest actions you can take.
Consider and deal with your own current and future impacts before considering the sale of any environmental credits. Buyers of credits will want to know that they are not buying credits from you when you are polluting or having negative social impacts elsewhere.
The hierarchy is to; avoid emissions or environmental impact where possible; if you can’t avoid impacts, reduce them as much as practically possible; and then finally; offset any remaining unavoidable impacts (as the last resort, not the first).
If you are selling credits, sell high quality ones. You can do this by using high quality professional advice, using established codes and registers, and by using reputable brokers. Be as open as possible about any credits you sell.
If you are a rural land and property owner, manager, natural capital investor, or you’re interested in exploring offsetting, please reach out to our team to learn more.
To find out how we can help you with the rising challenges of ESG here.
Download the 10 principles below.
We have a host of experts available for you to message with any questions you might have.
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