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Tipping Points

Valuing Nature Programme Research Goal:

Tipping Points

The Valuing Nature Programme aims to better understand and represent the complexities of the natural environment in valuation analyses and decision making and to consider the wider economic, societal and cultural value of ecosystem services, even where these have no perceived market value. 

In this context, the research goal is to improve our understanding of the complexities of the UK natural environment in valuation analyses, specifically to improve our understanding of:

i. the links between ecosystem stocks, ecosystem service flows and benefits that are delivered as a result in the context of defining critical levels of ecosystem stocks that avoid abrupt and damaging change in the delivery of benefits (tipping points).

ii. how the values of ecosystem services and benefits change as tipping points are reached and exceeded.

Three projects have been funded under this research goal - details here.  Information on the funding call (closed in May 2016) is available here.


Valuing externalities in a business context

Introduction

Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental and social costs that may be involved in the production of goods. Usually, these costs are not included in the final cost of the goods and are known as 'externalities'. Externalities include, for example, the depletion and pollution of water sources and waste from production processes.

The goal of this project was to develop standard methods for the valuation of externalities associated with the production and consumption of commodities, and to provide evidence for policy engagement about the sustainable and equitable management of natural capital.

This project was undertaken by the Valuing Nature Network, the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and the Natural Environment Research Council.

Case studies

The project brought together 12 major businesses across a number of sectors and economists and ecologists from the Valuing Nature Network interdisciplinary community to conduct detailed case studies.

The work was based on is two exemplar studies: the value chain of cereals and the use of water.

The project was co-funded by the Valuing Nature Network and the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, with additional funding from the Natural Environment Research Council.

End of project summary poster

 

Aims and Objectives

The objective of the project was to develop and test useable methods for the valuation of ecosystem-related externalities in collaboration with global business.

Aims

The project aimed to develop standard methods for the valuation of externalities associated with the production and consumption of commodities.

The project linked to 12 major businesses across a number of sectors.

The Valuing Nature Network interdisciplinary community was engaged to conduct detailed case studies.

 

Outputs

Published papers:

SABMiller Case Study - Assessing the externalities of SABMiller's barley extension program in Rajasthan

SABMiller Case STudy - The (Sustainable) Business Case for Natural Capital Valuation

E.Valu.A.Te Summary and Signposting

E.Valu.A.Te Listening to Business

E.Valu.A.Te Practical Guide

The Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership have also produced an Evaluate Game - to view the promotional video and start playing, please visit their website

 

The team

Project leader

Dr Bhaskar Vira - University of Cambridge

Each case study involves one economist and one ecologist, who form the research team working with the business partner. 

Water case study teams:

1. Water use, almond/tomato in California
Economist: Andy Thorpe - Portsmouth
Ecologist: Alison Holt - Sheffield

2. Water use crops/milk in Punjab, India
Economist: Dan van der Horst - Birmingham
Ecologist: Colm Bowe - Liverpool John Moores

3. Grey water in South Africa
Economist: Andy Thorpe - Portsmouth
Ecologist: Zbigniew Grabowski

4. Crop profitability per unit of water
Economist: Bruce Horton - consultant
Ecologist: Alison Holt - Sheffield

Crop case study teams:

1. Corn in France & Germany: food and biogas
Economist: Steven van Passel - Hasselt University
Ecologist: Alan Feest - Bristol

2. Corn cultivation in US: food and agri-fuels
Economist: Steven van Passel - Hasselt University
Ecologist: Zoltan Szabo - Corvinus University

3. Life cycle assessment data
Economist:Jacob Park - consultant
Ecologist: Frederiek van Lienen - Wageningen

4. Barley production in Rajasthan, India
Economist: Dan van der Horst - Birmingham
Ecologist: Colm Bowe - Liverpool John Moores

5. Soy production in Mata Grosso, Brazil
Economist: Luke Brander
Ecologist: Zoe Davies


Placements

The Valuing Nature Programme is funding placements to support the Programme's goal of building an interdisciplinary research community, capable of working across the natural, biological and social sciences and arts and humanities, and of linking researchers to businesses, policymakers and practitioners. 

The one to three month placements will enable researchers to work in a new disciplinary, institutional or applied setting, and to produce outputs which can be shared with the Valuing Nature community. 

The successful applicants for 2016 are listed below.

Natasha Bhatia

  • Placement Title - Valuing the impact of storm surges on society and human welfare in terms of the cultural services provided by estuarine flood alleviation sites
  • Home Organisation - University of Hull - Institute of Estuarine & Coastal Studies
  • Host Organisation - Hull University Business School

Amy Binner

  • Placement Title - From valuing nature to policies and decision making: Co-developing and implementing a 25 year planning tool for the natural environment
  • Home Organisation - University of Exeter
  • Host Organisation - Defra

Dan Bloomfield

  • Placement Title - Cornwall Council and the University of Exeter: maximising the human health and wellbeing value of nature in a local government context
  • Home Organisation - University of Exeter
  • Host Organisation - Cornwall Council

Clément Feger

  • Placement Title - A ‘rapid context diagnostic’ on organizational, political and institutional factors affecting use of ecosystem services research in decisions and impact on outcomes
  • Home Organisation - None
  • Host Organisation - University of Cambridge & WWF

Laurence Jones

  • Placement Title - Integrating environmental, social and health data in Wales to inform and support innovative policy implementation by Welsh Government
  • Home Organisation - Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • Host Organisation -  Welsh Government

Joseph Kenworthy

  • Placement Title - Valuing coastal services: Stressor induced impacts, tipping points and societal wellbeing
  • Home Organisation - University of St Andrews - School of Biology
  • Host Organisation - University of St Andrews - Environmental Economics Research Group

Charlie Langan

  • Placement Title - Assessing and implementing a natural capital approach for Scottish estate management
  • Home Organisation - University of Aberdeen
  • Host Organisation - The MacRobert Trust

Sarah Papworth

  • Placement Title - Valuing nature: how do conservation decision-makers choose what to save and how to save it?
  • Home Organisation - Royal Holloway, University of London - School of Biological Sciences
  • Host Organisation - Royal Holloway, University of London - Department of Psychology

David Robinson

  • Placement Title - Valuing Soil Change in Natural Capital assessments
  • Home Organisation - Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • Host Organisation - Bangor University

Eirini Saratsi

  • Placement Title - Investigating & linking tangible and intangible forms of heritage of urban green spaces to better embed them in the policy and practice of valuing nature
  • Home Organisation - University of Kent
  • Host Organisation - Historic England

Timothy Wilkinson

  • Placement Title - Exploring biodiversity values in the Somerset Levels with ‘ecological entrepreneurs’
  • Home Organisation - University of Exeter
  • Host Organisation - RSPB

Cheryl WIllis

  • Placement Title - Determining the Impacts of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) on Cultural Ecosystem Services and Human Well-being
  • Home Organisation - University of Exeter
  • Host Organisation - Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Tipping Points Funding Call

Funding Call now closed

The last funding call under the Valuing Nature Programme was on "Understanding ecosystem stocks and tipping points".

The funding will support interdisciplinary research projects that, through developing a better understanding of the complexities of the UK natural environment in valuation analyses, will seek to improve our understanding of:

i. the links between ecosystem stocks, ecosystem service flows and benefits that are delivered as a result in the context of defining critical levels of ecosystem stocks that avoid abrupt and damaging change in the delivery of benefits (tipping points).

ii. how the values of ecosystem services and benefits change as tipping points are reached and exceeded

Call closed: 5 May 2016 16:00 BST

Up to £1.1M (80% FEC) is available from NERC for three proposals of up to 30 months duration, and up to £370K (80% FEC).

Full details and the Announcement of Opportunity are on the NERC website here.

Potential applicants can use the Valuing Nature Offers Platform to find partners, case studies, datasets.  Please select “Tipping Points” from the “Opportunity” option to submit an offer or search the offers available

Rosie Hails introduces the topic in the video below.

 


Business Impact School 2016 - Anna Turrell

Anna Turrell
Senior Public Affairs Manager – Sustainability, Nestlé UK&I

Link to presentation - Managing impacts on nature: Nestlé’s approach in our milk supply chain

Anna summarises the main points of her presentation in the video below:


Business Impact School 2016 - Laura Crossley

Laura Crossley
PhD student, University of Southampton

Link to presentation - 
Assessing the safe operating space for nutrient loads to river estuaries: a palaeoenvironmental approach to estuary management

Laura summarises the main points of her presentation in the video below:


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