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Modelling better business: Anglian Water’s approach to valuing its land for biodiversity and preparing for net gain

February 2020 - The Natural Capital Impact Group (NCIG) has launched a new case study showcasing how Anglian Water has developed a measurement framework for implementing its commitment to biodiversity net gain across the driest region of the United Kingdom.

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Modelling better business: Anglian Water

In conjunction with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), Anglian Water set out to explore how the company could maximise the positive impact it has on the environment. It undertook this by measuring the biodiversity of the approximately 7,000 sites it manages across the East of England which are important to thousands of different animal and plant species.

Anglian Water is a member of CISL’s Natural Capital Impact Group (NCIG), a global network of companies working collaboratively to determine how business can sustain the natural world and its resources through its strategies and operating practices. The group are tackling the issue of how to measure business impacts on nature and are currently working together to develop a set of simple and practical metrics to inform business decision-making processes.

This case study outlines Anglian Water’s approach to measuring its biodiversity assets across its operations; from the development of a natural capital asset check and risk register to the establishment of a biodiversity baseline against which to track its commitment to biodiversity net gain.

Peter Simpson, Chief Executive, Anglian Water said:

“By taking action for wildlife and wild spaces we can play our part in creating a flourishing environment, ensuring our region remains a great place to live, work, and visit.”

The business case for this work was driven by Anglian Water looking at what it could be doing to enhance the environment of the wider region it serves. Customer engagement completed for its 2020–2025 business plan, demonstrating that 74 per cent of customers supported high investment in the environment, and with almost universal support for more natural capital approaches.

Chris Gerrard, Natural Catchment and Biodiversity Manager, Anglian Water, said:

“When you put the audit and baseline metrics together it provides a really comprehensive picture of both how we can manage our land better and the importance of sites in the wider context of the landscape.”

 Dr Cath Tayleur, Senior Programme Manager, CISL, said:

“The work they have done provides a blueprint for the UK water industry demonstrating how they can and should be taking care of the wider environment.”

About ‘Modelling better business’

This is the second in a series of ‘Modelling better business’ case studies. Underpinned by sound research, these case studies will provide examples of how large multinational companies are protecting nature on the ground, and the business and societal benefits this delivers. Our goal is to create compelling commercial cases that inspire companies to act, particularly those in sectors reliant on nature.

About the Natural Capital Impact Group

The Natural Capital Impact Group, convened by CISL, brings together companies to work collaboratively to determine how businesses can maintain and restore nature through their strategies and operating practices. 

Authors

The lead author of this case study was Andrew Raingold (Change in Nature). Expert contributors included Chris Gerrard (Anglian Water) and Dr Cath Tayleur (CISL). 

Citing this report

University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). (2019, December). Modelling better business: Anglian Water’s approach to valuing its land for biodiversity and preparing for net gain. Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.


Find out more about the work of CISL's Natural Capital Impact Group.

Published: February 2020

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Author and Acknowledgements

The lead author of this case study was Andrew Raingold (Change in Nature). Expert contributors included Chris Gerrard (Anglian Water) and Dr Cath Tayleur (CISL).

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of CISL, the University of Cambridge, or any of its individual business partners or clients.