Natural capital

Natural capital refers to the valuable resources nature provides to us. It is the water you drink and rely on for sanitation, the wood in the pencil you write with and the trees that sequester carbon and release oxygen into the air you breathe.

With half of the world's GDP either moderately or highly dependant on nature and its services, increasingly businesses of all types (including our own) are needing to look beyond carbon emissions to consider a much more complex world of nature-related risks and opportunities.

We are bringing together elements of our work supporting clients on ESG, our own commitment as a business to ESG, CSR, wellbeing and our work with important charities and organisations, to focus on natural capital.

Our commitment

As a firm, we are:

  • committed to reducing our carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. We are also working to reduce other environmental impacts through more efficient use of resources such as water, paper and recycling;
  • providing pro bono advice and financial support to organisations that are working to protect and restore our natural environment, including the Tree Council and The Line Art Walk; and
  • committed to supporting our clients channel capital towards a more sustainable future, which draws on the diverse range of experience we have in this area.

The economy and natural capital

Natural capital and ecosystem services are complex, but much work is now being done to enable business to analyse their dependencies on natural capital and identify opportunities for regenerative and sustainable development. The Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) is a global initiative that seeks to shift global financial flows away from nature destructive activities and towards nature positive opportunities. The Taskforce published the first version of its framework in March 2022 and we can expect monitoring and reporting to become widespread over the coming years.

Partnering with charities to support natural capital


The Tree Council

Macfarlanes has supported the work of The Tree Council for many years through the provision of pro bono legal advice. For example, we recently advised on the legal contract for a Community Tree Planting Scheme with Network Rail, resulting in 168,000 trees and over 20km of hedgerow being planted across the UK. We also helped develop a partnership agreement for The Tree Council’s Close the Gap programme, funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, focused on achieving bigger, healthier, better-connected hedgerows.

Learn more

The Line

Macfarlanes provides pro bono advice for The Line, a public art walk running from the Olympic Park to the O2 Centre. It seeks to improve the quality of life for people in urban environments by putting art, culture and nature connection at the heart of regeneration. There will be opportunities for guided walks later in the year where visitors will discover unexpected pockets of biodiversity and wildlife corridors in the centre of London, alongside unique artworks.

Learn more

Rachel Richardson

Head of ESG

If you have any questions relating to natural capital or ESG more broadly, please contact Rachel Richardson.

Contact Rachel
Natural capital