Abu Dhabi, 24 December 2017 - The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) held recently a distinctive Hiwar Session that focused on "Natural Capital as the Road to A Prosperous and Resilient Economy". The session examined and analysed what natural capital means, introduced the Natural Capital Protocol that provides updates on the progress made internationally, regionally and locally and explored how all attendees can support the momentum for change.
This session is one of ADSG's series of Hiwar sessions that focuses on current issues through the lens of practitioners from the government, business and not-for-profit community, providing a much-needed platform for sustainability professionals to meet with leading players in the industry who have wielded sustainability to bring benefits to their business.
The session was highly attended with participation from a number of professionals, ADSG member organisations, sustainability experts from the government sector, private sector and not-for-profit community.
The main objective of this Hiwar session was to continue the earlier discussion after the successful launch of the Arabized Natural Capital (NCC) Primer in Abu Dhabi, during the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Business Leadership Forum held earlier this year as well as to promote the Natural Capital concepts more widely among the ADSG members and stakeholders.
The session, which was moderated by Huda Al Houqani, ADSG Director, led by three speakers including James Spurgeon Natural Capital Coalition Representative, who provided a global overview on the Natural Capital Coalition Protocol and shared case studies on how other, regions and various organisations are driving change towards responsible management of natural resources.
Jane Glavan, Partnership Manager at Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) also, spoke at the session and highlighted the regional work done by AGEDI on coastal vulnerability and UAE government's priorities in terms of natural capital. Nessrine Al Zahlawi, Unit Head for Terrestrial Biodiversity Policy and Regulations at the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) spoke on the importance of natural capital for local business and role of private section in supporting EAD's vision to safeguard natural capital.
During the session the environmental and economic values of integrating the Natural Capital at the company's business models was discussed with an aim to develop an overview and common understanding on natural capital, the challenges and the role we all (across all sectors and industries) have to play to safeguard our natural resources.
Huda Al Houqani, ADSG Director said "Natural capital is another term for the stock of renewable and non-renewable natural resources that combine to yield a flow of benefits to people, where it supports all of the other capitals by providing essential resources, such as air, water, soil and minerals, supporting a healthy planet that underpins thriving societies, prosperous economies.
Every business impacts and depends on natural capital to some degree and will experience risks and/or opportunities associated with these relationships. All of the impacts and dependencies create costs and benefits not only for the business, but also for society. Understanding the connections between business and society and the associated risks and opportunities can inform better, more timely decision making", she added.
Al Houqani also mentioned that "The session focused on the value of Natural Capital and its importance to economic success and sustainability by introducing the natural capital protocol to improve understanding of the opportunities for business within the context - a transition to a greener economy, specifically highlighting the role of the private sector in realising the shift to a green economy".
James Spurgeon, Natural Capital Coalition Representative, quoted: "Risks and opportunities for businesses throughout the world from changes in the supply and regulation of natural capital are growing at an unprecedented rate. As a result, leading companies are increasingly applying the Natural Capital Protocol to help assess their context and adapt going forwards. This Hiwar provides an excellent opportunity for companies in the region to gain valuable insights into this critical issue."