Leading think tank, Green Alliance, today announced the launch of its major new Natural Environment programme
 addressing politics’ failure to deal with the continuing deterioration of natural systems in the UK.
In its first year, the programme will be working on two aligned but distinct projects, one with Nestlé, and another with the National Trust.
The project backed by Nestlé, the world’s largest food and drink manufacturer, will involve work with business and civil society partners to identify how to turn new thinking about the economic value of natural capital into practical policy to arrest nature’s decline and restore the health of the natural environment.
And, in collaboration with the National Trust, Britain’s largest conservation NGO and owner of over 250,000 hectares of land, Green Alliance will be exploring new models for profitable land management that also help to protect and enhance natural systems. After an initial scoping phase, the plan is to develop a wider collaboration with other organisations committed to furthering the debate about a new economics of land management that benefits both nature and people.
Britain’s record on habitat protection is amongst the poorest in Europe, according to a recent report from the European Commission and the European Environment Agency
, in part because of the pressure from agriculture on UK land. The report showed that over 80 per cent of the UK’s habitats are in unfavourable or bad condition. 
Matthew Spencer, director, Green Alliance:
“We are still struggling to balance the twin needs of agricultural production and restoring the health of our natural environment. This government has come to power with a promise to create a 25 year plan to restore nature. But it will require renewed political leadership, new policy ideas, and new thinking on our relationship with natural resources. We aim to support this necessary shift with workable new practices and policies that enable us to thrive and develop alongside natural systems, and within natural limits.”
Duncan Pollard, AVP Stakeholders Engagement in Sustainability, Nestlé SA:
“We are very excited to be working with Green Alliance on this project. The thinking behind the concept of natural capital is advancing rapidly, and this project will allow us to help shape the incentives that can guide further actions by land owners, companies in the value chain that are dependent upon nature, governments and civil society to help the UK restore the nature upon which we depend.”
Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprises Director, National Trust:
“A major reason for nature’s decline is that land is managed in a way that erodes natural capital. We are living off the capital not the interest, mining rather than harvesting. As a major private landowner also focused on delivering wider public benefit, we want to use our position to explore economically viable, alternative ways of managing land that protects and restores nature for the benefit of all. We want to achieve this by doing not talking, and by working with others. This will be a big collective national effort on a big collective national problem.”
1. Green Alliance announced its intention to increase its focus on the natural environment in its 2015-18 strategy
. The Natural Environment theme
complements existing Green Alliance themes on Resource Stewardship, Low Carbon Energy, and Political Leadership.
2. State of Nature in the EU: EEA technical report
For more information, contact:
William Andrews Tipper, Green Alliance