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We Value Nature

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - We Value Nature (We Value Nature)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-04-30

EU-VNP-Net (branded as 'We Value Nature' - WVN) addresses the decline in natural capita (NC), i.e. the stocks of natural assets (such as biological diversity, clean water, soil carbon) and the flows of ecosystem services, upon which economies and societies depend. In particular, it addresses the urgent need for transformative change in the way in which businesses relate to nature, which is required to address the climate and biodiversity crises.

The overall objective is to establish, support and energise an EU Valuing Nature Network of Networks (EU-VNN) and to implement a prioritised EU Valuing Nature Programme (EU-VNP) that, together, build synergies and collaborations among relevant existing and emerging networks, accelerate mainstreaming and operationalization of natural capital by businesses across the EU – in particular through uptake of natural capital (NC) assessment, natural capital accounting (NCA), nature-based solutions (NBS) and green infrastructure (GI) – and thereby contribute to the green economy and sustainable development.

The EU-VNN will build effective engagement of key European, global, national, thematic, sector and research and innovation networks for the integration of NC in business decision-making. The EU-VNP will: (1) bring together, take stock of and showcase relevant work being undertaken in the EU; (2) shape business perception in the EU of the value of nature as a business opportunity and as a means of reducing business risk and fostering sustainable business; (3) facilitate corporate uptake in the EU of the Natural Capital Protocol (NCP), which enables businesses to integrate NC into business decision-making; (4) stimulate uptake in the EU of NCA so that businesses and their stakeholders are better aware of the value of nature, and strengthen coherence between private and public sector work on NCA; (5) stimulate uptake in the EU of NBS, GI and related ecosystem-based solutions that deliver benefits for both nature and business; (6) ensure that approaches adopted are optimal and scientifically rigorous; (7) explore options for a longer-term EU-VNN and/or EU-VNP beyond end of project.
Over the first half of the project (months 1-18, Nov 2018 - Apr 2020), EU-VNP-Net has carried out work to:

(1) Build the EU-VNN and engage key stakeholders. This has included: (a) launching WVN at the Paris Natural Capital Week (Nov 2018); (b) engaging with the Natural Capital Coalition to optimise synergies; (c) securing sign-up by c.700 individuals; (d) convening an Advisory Group (businesses active in the NC arena); (e) convening an Academic Review Board to ensure that solutions are scientifically robust; (f) convening a 'Dialogue' with relevant networks to better understand their needs; (g) running business trainings and train-the-trainer sessions; (h) engaging the wider business community through dissemination and communication; (i) running events alongside the EU Business & Biodiversity Summit (Madrid, Nov 2019); (j) engaging with the EC, including DG RTD (e.g. on Horizon Europe ideas) and DG GROW (on uptake of WVN training resources by European Enterprise Network).

(2) Take stock, bring together and showcase relevant work. This has included: (a) developing a theory of change for acceleration of uptake of NC thinking and a NC 'uptake pathway' for businesses; (b) reviewing case studies to understand why companies carry out NC assessments, the extent of NC assessments, their focus and methods used; (c) identifying key barriers to uptake and what 'enablers' exist to address these; (d) identifying key sectors offering greatest potential for accelerated uptake; (e) assessing state-of-play on coherence between private and public sectors on NC assessment, NCA and NBS.

(3) Scale business training and learning. This has included: (a) designing and testing an introductory training module on NC; (b) delivering business trainings and train-the-trainer sessions across Europe; (c) making training materials freely available and adapted for trainings of various lengths; (d) preparing a second training module on carrying out a NC assessment; (e) running virtual office hour calls offering tailored support to businesses.

(4) Address key barriers, bottlenecks and opportunities. This has included: (a) supporting the development and promotion of a new Standard for NBS; (b) Initiating a pilot on public-private coherence for NC assessment and NCA (Andalucia, Spain); (c) convening Round Tables with insurance and food and beverage sectors, to better understand sector-specific barriers.

(5) Disseminate results and communicate project activities. This has included: (a) developing a WVN brand identity; (b) developing a WVN dissemination, communication and exploitation strategy and plan; (c) developing a WVN data management plan; (d) developing a WVN website, targetted at a business audience; (d) developing content for the website, including: (i) news and opinion, including blogs; (ii) promotion of WVN events; (iii) an Open Media Library with video, graphics and other materials; (iv) a series of 'natural capital stories' on how businesses have taken up natural capital thinking; (v) training resources, adapted to various session lengths, made available under a Creative Commons license.

(6) Meet ethics requirements. This has included: (a) development of a WVN ethics report on personal data management; (b) initiation of work on a WVN ethics report on risks to biodiversity arising from accelerated uptake of NC thinking.
PROGRESS BEYOND THE STATE OF THE ART

Key areas of progress beyond the state of the art (over months 1-18, to 30/04/20) include:
• A novel theory of change and 'natural capital uptake pathway' providing a framework for action to accelerate business uptake of NC thinking.
• Analysis of >100 case studies on NC assessments amd of network consultations, identifying key barriers to uptake amd enablers to address these barriers.
• New business-oriented NC training resources, adapted to various training periods, and to business training and train-the-trainer sessions
• Virtual office hour' peer-to-peer trainings
• An Open Media Library offering open access to NC media content under a Creative Commons licence
• 'Natural capital stories' providing insights on business uptake.

EXPECTED RESULTS AT END OF PROJECT

• A healthy and vibrant EU-VNN...engaging as far as possible all relevant networks and other key stakeholders.
• A clear overview of relevant work being undertaken in the EU (and, where relevant, globally) and a set of well-developed case studies showcasing business operationalization/mainstreaming of NC.
• Enhanced business perception in the EU of the value of nature.
• Enhanced business uptake of the NCP as a key framework to enhance the integration of NC in business decision-making.
• Enhanced business uptake of NCA and enhanced coherence between public and private sector work on NCA.
• Accelerated business uptake of NBS, GI and other ecosystem-based solutions for operationalization of NC, with enhanced standards and increased investment in these solutions.
• If supported by EU-VNN participants, a viable business plan for an ongoing EU-VNP-Net beyond end of project.

EXPECTED IMPACT
Over the medium- to long-term, WVN will deliver impact through:
• enhanced mainstreaming of NC assessment, NCA, NBS and GI by businesses ;
• reduced negative impacts by business on nature and enhanced business activity to restore nature.
The model: Natural capital thinking for better decision making (by Natural Capital Coalition)