New Natural Capital principles to promote responsible investment

Published:  1 April 2022

We have welcomed a set of new principles to promote responsible investment in Scotland’s natural assets.

The Scottish Government have announced that future private investment in Scotland’s natural capital – such as peatlands and woodlands - will be subject to a set of principles to help ensure it delivers social, environmental and economic benefit.

During COP26 the Scottish Government committed to develop a values-led and high-integrity market for natural capital – one that restores and enhances nature, as well as supporting a just transition that involves and benefits communities.

Six interim principles have now been published setting out the government’s ambitions and expectations for responsible private investment, for communities, investors, land owners, land managers, public bodies and other market stakeholders.

What are the six principles?

These interim principles will help inform and develop market rules, including options for enforcement mechanisms for the market, such as regulation. Under these new principles, investment should:

  • Support diverse and productive land ownership
  • Deliver integrated land use
  • Deliver public, private and community benefit
  • Demonstrate engagement and collaboration
  • Be ethical and values-led
  • Be of high environmental integrity

Their publication makes Scotland the first country in the UK to set out its ambitions for the natural capital market in this way. 

What is happening in the South of Scotland?

There has been many years of work in this field across the South of Scotland. 

It includes:

  • The establishment of the first Natural Capital Innovation Zone;
  • Home to the UNESCO Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, the first area in Scotland to be internationally recognised as a world class environment for people and nature;
  • Based on 10 years learning and experience of Place Making, a Sustainable Tourism Commitment is now being rolled out across the South of Scotland, helping to conserve our natural resources, support the economy to benefit people and nature and contribute to the health and wellbeing of the community;
  • Piloting one of five Regional Land Use Partnerships across the region, to develop a collaborative approach to land use change decision-making and a Regional Land Use Framework that supports the delivery of biodiversity and climate change targets.

Chief Executive Jane Morrison-Ross

“Through the Borderland Inclusive Growth Deal, the South of Scotland is establishing the first Natural Capital Innovation Zone to drive the Just Transition to Net Zero and delivery the Wellbeing Economy. 

“We are delivering innovative projects in agriculture, biodiversity, blue carbon and habitat management.

“These principles will support our applied research with Space Intelligence on Natural Capital data auditing and mapping and the development of an investment plan to unlock blended and innovative finance opportunities."