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Catchment Leadership Network webinar series

This four-part series hosted in October 2020 by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) on behalf of the Catchment Leadership Network focused upon collective catchment management in the UK. The series highlighted leadership in this area as well as discussing levers for change.

The webinar series considered:

  • Success stories for cross-sector catchment management
  • The enabling environment for cross sector catchment management
  • Regulatory processes underpinning investment in nature
  • Business processes underpinning investment in nature

The series was hosted by Dr Gemma Cranston, Director of CISL’s Business and Nature team, and featured guest speakers from business, industry, government and the non-profit sectors. Ensuring a wide range of perspectives and experiences in collaborative catchment management were explored.            


The Catchment Leadership Network was established to drive a step change in the level of activity on catchment management, following the launch of the Catchment Management Declaration in May 2018. The declaration is a call from business, civil society organisations and the public sector to commit to the water catchment-related ambition of the UK Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and support collective activities that will deliver successful catchment management.

This series forms a commitment under the declaration to share progress, best practice and demonstrate positive action in catchment management. This series was funded by a grant from the Prince of Wale’s Charitable Fund.


Watch the webinars series

Webinar 1: Success stories for cross-sector catchment management (aired 6 October)


Andy Griffiths (Nestlé), Tom Curtis (3Keel), Andrew Walker (Yorkshire Water) and Alex Adam (The Rivers Trust)

The first of a four-part webinar series considered a range of different business cases for cross-sector catchment management.

We heard perspective on how to drive investment in healthy landscapes by understanding the value gained by targeting shared risks to create shared solutions. Andy Griffiths, Head of Value Chain Sustainability at Nestlé, discussed how they have been utilising this approach through their Resilient Dairy Landscapes project, driven in part by corporate pledges on carbon and water. From Yorkshire Water we heard how collaboration across Yorkshire’s large management area is supported by key partnerships with local rivers trusts, catchment partnerships and environmental groups. Success of this approach can be seen in the development of an uplands soil strategy and through the Sustainable Landscapes farmer to farmer mentoring programme. The Rivers Trust highlighted the work being undertaken with a number of private sector engagements not least as part of Courtauld 2025 and through Natural Flood Management projects such as that being undertaken in the Wyre River catchment.

Overall the webinar highlighted that there are a range of opportunities for collaboration on catchment management that allow different sectors to work together to address risks, add value and improve the state of water resources and nature more generally within the UK.

Watch the recording

Speaker biographies

Webinar 2: The enabling environment for catchment management (aired 13 October)


Tony Juniper CBE (Natural England), Arlin Rickard (The Rivers Trust), Ashley Holt (DEFRA) and Damian Crilly (the Environment Agency).

This session, the second in a four-part webinar series considered how government bodies can support cross-sector catchment management.

We heard how the interconnectedness of climate change and nature loss is driving momentum for joint economic, social and ecological solutions. Keynote speaker Tony Juniper, highlighted that movement from government can be seen in the development of key policies and tools, such as the 25 Year Environment Plan and Nature Recovery Networks. Speakers went on to outline how adopting an integrated approach to catchment management within a supportive policy environment has numerous benefits - extending beyond direct improvements to water quality and quantity. These include improvements in public health and wellbeing, tourism, and risk reduction for farmers, Local Authorities, businesses and the financial sector.

The current benefits and barriers of Water Industry National Environmental Programme (WINEP), Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) and Nature Based Solutions were explored.

Overall the second webinar expanded on the discussion started in the first on the value of a collaborative and considered approach to catchment management. Concluding on the positive note that the level of ambition being seen from the various government departments and other players indicates that the opportunity now exists to act at scale together.

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Speaker biographies

Webinar 3: Regulatory processes underpinning investment in nature (aired 20 October)


Richard Hatch (Environment Agency), Bart Schoonbaert (Ofwat) and Yvette De Garis (Thames Water).

This session, the third in a four-part webinar series and considers how regulation can drive investment in nature within UK catchments.

We heard how the Water Industry National Environmental Programme (WINEP) is designed to support water companies in meeting their environmental obligations through investments. In the context of climate change, the biodiversity crisis and broader environmental challenges, there is public, private and third sector consensus that both the ambition, and ways of meeting ambition must evolve. A newly established taskforce will review what this ambition looks like, and how WINEP can best support meeting that ambition.

Speakers highlighted that collaboration between regulators and the water sector is part of a collective drive to consider upstream impacts. The intention being that this will stimulate new innovative projects, co-creation and funding opportunities. The panel also discussed the opportunities and barriers using behavioural shifts to drive action.

Finally, the panel concluded the webinar with their top enablers to progress collaborative catchment management. There was agreement on the value of working together towards joint ambitions and the moves to increase flexibility in the regulatory process.

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Speaker biographies

Webinar 4: Business processes underpinning investment in nature (aired 27 October)


Chris Brown (Asda), Ruth Barden (Wessex Water), Andrew Walker (Yorkshire Water) and Catherine Weller (CISL).

This session, the final in the four-part webinar series, discussed how business can drive investment in nature within UK catchments.

Starting with a reflection on the need for business to invest in nature to attenuate risks and drive innovation, speakers from the water and retail sectors highlighted existing actions being undertaken by their respective organisations. The panel discussed a number of topics from ‘walking down the supply chain’ to understand impacts, to working directly with farmers, to investing in nature based solutions such as wetlands and peatland restoration.

The challenge of timescales was discussed - how to rectify natural systems damaged over the proceeding decades, and how to align a business’s financial and operational timeframes with those required for solutions to show outcomes in nature.

Speakers left the audience with a call to action that there has never been a better time to engage in collaborative catchment management. There was agreement that a push for business to measure and report on their scope 3 emissions opens the door to investment in nature based solutions - and it is this and more co-investment that will create the environment to deliver, learn and measure outcomes.

Watch the recording

Speaker Biographies