Natural Capital

It is SWEEP's mission to place natural capital thinking at the heart of business and policy decision making.

Natural Capital is a term used increasingly by government, businesses and community organisations when talking about the environment… but what does it mean? The World Forum on Natural Capital says:

Natural capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. It is from this natural capital that humans derive a wide range of services, often called ecosystem services, which make human life possible.

Looking at our environment from an economic perspective can help businesses and organisations make clearer, more-informed decisions about how they interact with the natural assets we all depend on. SWEEP Director, Professor Ian Bateman, gives us an insight into how economics and environmental science can work together to achieve positive results.

Valuing Nature: Should We Put a Price on Ecosystems?

Assigning a value to nature is a subject that continues to divide economists and environmentalists alike. The biggest question concerning this approach is how you define the word ‘value’. Do you see it as putting a price on nature, or is it a way of appreciating the benefits of the natural environment in the same way as we appraise goods and services?

Future Learn, together with experts from the University of Exeter and the Valuing Nature programme, has created a free online course that tackles this question and asks; if we put a price on nature, will it help us to protect these important ecosystems? And, is it morally right to put a price on nature? The course uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore the ins and outs of how we value nature and will help you to understand more about the benefits of valuing ecosystems in this way.