National Grid charges up natural capital thinking

National Grid is examining how the value of goods and services provided by nature can be embedded into its planning and decision-making.

The company in charge of the U.K.'s energy infrastructure has enlisted engineering consultancy URS to work out how its business operations may affect the natural world and how the products of the natural world could in turn impact the company.

Studies suggest ecosystems provide billions of pounds worth of value to the U.K. through services such as cleaning soil and water, pollinating crops and providing protection from flooding, but that this natural capital is consistently undervalued.

Natural capital is a key focus in National Grid's sustainability strategy and the company will work with URS to develop a "Natural Grid" program addressing the issue, including assessing opportunities to enhance the existing natural environment across its property portfolio and network of energy assets and improve habitats on surplus land.

National Grid wants to introduce its new approach to natural capital and ecosystem services at a minimum of 50 sites in the next eight years. URS is looking at a sample of 10 sites in order to develop the framework and procedures that then can be rolled out across National Grid's estate.

Stuart Bailey, head of sustainability and climate change at National Grid, said: "At National Grid we're working to enhance the way the company preserves the natural world for the future. We're delighted to welcome URS on board to help us deliver a 'natural grid' of spaces for nature that sits side by side with our electricity and gas infrastructure."

This article originally appeared at Business Green. Outdoor electrical socket image by stockcreations via Shutterstock.