New principles announced to promote responsible investment in Scotland’s natural assets

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Future private investment in Scotland’s natural capital, such as peatlands and woodlands, will be subject to a set of principles to help ensure it delivers social, environmental and economic benefit, the Scottish Government has announced.

During COP26 the Scottish Government committed to develop a ‘values-led and high-integrity market for natural capital’.

Now, six interim principles have been published, setting out the government’s ambitions and expectations for responsible private investment, for communities, investors, land owners, land managers, public bodies and other market stakeholders.

Minister for Environment and Land Reform Mairi McAllan commented on the announcement: “Private investment in Scotland’s natural capital will be critical to enabling the pace and scale of action required to deliver our world leading ambitions on addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.

“We are determined to ensure that this necessary private investment is socially responsible and provides wider public benefit, including for local communities. We want to work with investors who share our values so that we encourage responsible investment in our natural capital for Scotland.

“These interim principles will help us to focus investment in the right types of natural capital in the right places such as in nature-based solutions, like peatland restoration and woodland creation, which bring benefits for the environment, the economy and society as a whole.”

The new interim principles will help inform and develop market rules, including options for enforcement mechanisms for the market, such as regulation.

Under these new principles, investment should:

  • Support diverse and productive land ownership
  • Deliver integrated land use
  • Deliver public, private and community benefit
  • Demonstrate engagement and collaboration
  • Be ethical and values-led
  • Be of high environmental integrity

The publication of these interim principles makes Scotland the first country in the UK to set out its ambitions for the natural capital market in this way.

The Interim Principles for Responsible Investment in Natural Capital are available on the Scottish Government website.