Having completed my final year at Nottingham Trent in Business Management and Marketing, I gained a wide range of knowledge on business and marketing theory in context to industry in the real world. The course has a strong focus on sustainable business management, a commitment to conducting business in a way that is responsible, described in the Bruntland report in 1987 as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This is also defined as managing the Triple Bottom Line; managing financial, social and environmental risks with equal importance.

But since leaving university and beginning my career in business with Hosta, what I feel that is missing from the approach to sustainable business, is the key principle of ‘Natural Capital’. Natural Capital is defined as the worlds stocks of natural assets which, as we are becoming increasingly aware, are not infinite. It is from nature that humans derive a wide range of services, therefore by putting a price on nature, essential services such as clean air, water, medicine and food can be sustainably managed. Companies would no longer be able to cut down trees or use infinite water supplies without paying a monetary price to replace what they have used.

Many suggest that you cannot put a price on nature as what we are dealing with are values which are non-consumables. In other words, you cannot put a price on the intangible value of health, wellbeing, clean air, freedom etc. However, we cannot assume that we live in an ideal world. To make a difference, create big change, and really ensure a sustainable future, we need to help businesses understand their relationship with natural assets.

 

Claire Russell