Grow the economy by protecting natural capital

First Minister outlines commitment at conference.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will today address the third World Forum on Natural Capital in a speech in Edinburgh.

In front of an international audience and alongside other speakers from business, the third sector and foreign governments – gathered to discuss how to better manage the world’s natural assets – the First Minister will reinforce Scotland’s commitment to protecting our resources, and the correlation between environmental sustainability and growing the economy.

Scotland has already led in making deep cuts in harmful greenhouse gas emissions – well on the way to the target of a 42% reduction by 2020.  Proposed new legislation will set even more ambitious, long term emissions reductions targets in direct response to the Paris Agreement.

The introduction of a National Marine Plan, published in 2015, has required developers, users and those accessing our marine environment to take measures to address marine litter, and decision makers must adhere to this when making choices about activities which affect our seas.

This year’s Programme for Government set out further steps that will be taken to protect Scotland’s natural capital.

From summer 2018, the manufacture and sale of cosmetics and personal care products containing microbeads – harmful to the marine environment – will be banned.  The Scottish Government has also committed to being the first UK country to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.


Speaking ahead of the conference, the First Minister said:

“Scotland is leading the way in demonstrating that there needn’t be a tension between protecting our environment and our natural capital, and growing our economy.  I believe they are two sides of the same coin.

“That is why Scotland was one of the first countries to sign up to the Sustainable Development Goals.  That is why we were one of the first countries in the world to develop a Natural Capital Asset Index, to allow us to focus on growing our stock of natural capital, and it is why we put so much emphasis on making sure that we tackle climate change, protecting the environment  that our natural capital needs to thrive.

“Our natural capital is vital to the health, wellbeing and prosperity of our country, and Scotland will be a better country if we recognise that and reflect that in all of our policy making.”


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