Making Capital From Nature

The importance of natural resources – such as clean water and fertile soil – for food and drink businesses is the focus of new research being led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

SEFARI Fellow and environmental economist Alistair McVittie is looking at how the sector’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) include nature in their decision-making and business models, and how they can develop new opportunities from natural resources.

SEFARI Fellowships aim to improve the flow of research, knowledge and expertise to its key partners. This fellowship contributes to the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital’s work to help businesses understand how they rely on, have an impact on, and can develop business opportunities from natural capital.

Alistair said: “I am exploring the extent to which small and medium-sized enterprises in Scotland’s food and drink sector are engaging with their impacts and dependencies on nature.
“For some, such as farmers, these links might be very direct and clear, although they may not be using explicit natural capital approaches.
“For others, further down the supply chain such as manufacturers and processors, the links might be less direct – with benefits coming from marketing opportunities, but could include risks such as the supply of water needed in processes.
“The survey is looking at how far businesses are already engaged with nature and natural capital, what barriers they are facing and how those might be addressed.
“I’m keen to get a broad cross-section of businesses in the sector to explore whether these differences in links to nature do exist.”

Alastair is asking representatives from food and drink SMEs to complete an online survey before Monday 8 March.

To complete the survey visit: sruc.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/food_natural_capital

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