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Natural capital

Dr Mike Rands, Executive Director of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), on the unsustainable depletion of ‘natural capital’ and its relevance to business.

Emerging economies are taking a lead in understanding the importance of sustaining their natural capital – the genes, species and ecosystems that together make up life on Earth.

Dr Mike Rands, Executive Director of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), says there is greater awareness of the importance of ‘natural capital’ among CEOs of businesses in emerging economies than among their European counterparts.

“Historically the emerging economies, particularly China, have not addressed the short-term effect they are having, with its long-term impact, on natural capital, but we’ve seen a growing change in that.”

Dr Rands believes that CEOs of businesses in those economies are much more aware, than they are in Europe, of the importance of understanding the values of natural capital and then managing them appropriately.

“We also find that as there is a growing professional class across those nations. Those people are concerned about the quality of life that natural capital provides for them, opportunities for everything from eco-tourism to the resources that those living species provide for their businesses and so on.

“I think it is changing and it is changing faster perhaps in emerging economies than anywhere else in the world.”

Dr Mike Rands is the Executive Director of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, a strategic collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the cluster of leading international conservation organisations in the Cambridge area, based at Cambridge Judge Business School.