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Ecosystem Markets Task Force call for evidence

Zoe Hodgson, from Defra’s secretariat for the Ecosystem Markets Task Force, introduces its activities and work, and invites contributions to the recent call for evidence.

Announced as a key commitment of the Natural Environment White Paper, the Task Force is reviewing the opportunities available to UK business to develop green goods, services, investment vehicles and markets which value and protect the environment, and will report back to the Government in early 2013 through the Green Economy Council.

Ecosystem Markets Task Force

The Ecosystem Markets Task Force brings together ten industry leaders and experts from a wide range of sectors – from banking and biodiversity, conservation to beauty – to look at how ecosystem markets can provide opportunities for UK business to flourish and grow, while at the same time helping value and protect nature.

The philosophy behind it is that markets can, in some areas, be good for the both business and the environment, not least because we are often trying to correct market failure.

Who is on the Task Force?

Announced in the Government’s Natural Environment White Paper, and launched in the city last November, the Task Force’s members are:

  • Ian Cheshire, Task Force Chair and Group Chief Executive Officer, Kingfisher plc;
  • Kim Buckland, Co-Founder, Liz Earle;
  • Vivienne Cox, Chair, Climate Change Capital;
  • Jack Frost, Director of Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells;
  • David Hill, Chair of the Environment Bank;
  • Russ Houlden, CFO, United Utilities;
  • Mike Wright, Executive Director at Jaguar Land Rover;
  • Martin Roberts, Programme Director of the Cambridge Natural Capital Leaders Platform;
  • Amanda Sourry, Chairman of Unilever UK and Ireland;
  • Peter Young, Strategy Director at SKM Enviros and Chairman of the Aldersgate Group.

It’s an impressive roll call, and in less than a year these ten senior business leaders will bring their insight and experience to bear to advise the Government on what business can do to ensure the UK economy is both green and growing.

Reporting to three Secretaries of State (for Business, Innovation & Skills; Energy & Climate Change; and Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) means this is a real opportunity for business to help the Government shape the market conditions in this emerging area. Bringing together so many brilliant people allows us to leverage their expertise to find real solutions, but finding time in busy diaries can be a challenge!

How the Task Force works

The Task Force is following three steps to identify business opportunities:

  • What’s the problem? The Task Force is interested in where the market failures are, and where the environmental problems are.
  • What is the evidence, and where does it suggest the opportunities are? The Task Force wants to use the existing evidence wherever possible, because there is a lot of it, and none of us have any desire to waste money or time. The plan is to take a broad look at all the possible opportunities, and narrow them down to the best four of five.
  • How does the Task Force (or business, or government) enable and secure these opportunities? What needs to be done so a new market can be opened up, or a current process greened? Who needs to do it – business or government – and how? Regulation, evidence, frameworks for investment: everything is on the table.

It sounds simple, but it isn’t and the Task Force needs your help…

Calling for evidence

…and here’s your opportunity to be involved – a call for evidence has just been launched and is open until 27th April.

The Task Force has written a short paper to set out its thinking to date what the current ideas are and the sort of evidence it is interested in. There’s also a survey with some structured questions. The discussion paper and survey are available online.

We hope a wide range of stakeholders will complete the questionnaire but if you’d rather have a chat please email the secretariat at ecosystemmarketstaskforce@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Anyone can respond to the call for evidence – we really want as wide a range of views as possible, not least because the Task Force is committed to not reinventing the wheel.  We’ll use this information to get a richer understanding of what’s out there, prioritise areas where they think there are opportunities for business and – crucially – start to understand what government (and business) needs to do to realise them.


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