The Environment Strategy for Scotland: Driving the Transition to a Nature Positive Economy - A Synthesis of Policy Levers for Governments

This report supports the research project ‘Delivering the Environment Strategy Outcome on Scotland’s Economy: Evidence base and Policy levers’. It focuses on the transition to a nature positive economy, summarises key evidence, and presents a synthesis of potential actions.

3. Introduction

An intended outcome of the Scottish Environment Strategy is: ‘Our thriving, sustainable economy conserves and grows our natural assets’. Achieving this outcome will mean transforming the Scottish economy so that it thrives within the planet’s sustainable limits, and is nature positive, net zero and circular.

Nature positive economies are an emerging concept, with no current consensus on how they are defined. However, there is an acceptance that they are economies built around principles of wellbeing for nature and societies, rather than monetary and material values, with actions that are regenerative and collaborative, in which economic growth is only valued where it contributes to social progress and environmental protection. Elements required for a nature positive economy are being developed, in different contexts around the world, by academia, governments and NGOs.

A rapid evidence review has been carried out to identify frameworks and the components which would be appropriate for transitioning towards a nature positive economy in Scotland. It supports wider research being undertaken by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) to help inform the development of a pathway towards the goal of a just transition to a net zero, nature positive, circular economy.

The findings from this review have been structured using the concept of Economic Operating Infrastructures (EOI; Waddell et al., 2023) to classify policy levers (Rivington et al., 2023) that can be used by public, private and voluntary sectors for accelerating the uptake of nature positive approaches, supported by international examples of initiatives and approaches. The EOI is linked to requirements for a wellbeing economy (Hough-Stewart et al., 2019; Wellbeing Economy Alliance, 2020), and of the need for new economics for a thriving society (Boehnert, 2018; Fazey et al., 2020).

This report brings together and summarises the key findings from the review across a range of international studies which explore the policy levers governments can use to help drive the transition to a nature positive economy.



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