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BSI launches UK nature markets principles standard for consultation

First-of-its-kind standard designed to drive consistency and high integrity across nature markets and prevent greenwashing

21 March, London, UK – BSI is today launching and opening for consultation the first version of an overarching principles standard for UK nature markets.  This is the first in a suite of nature investment standards being developed with funding from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). The standard enables the development of an overarching set of principles and a common definition of nature investments, designed to support the UK’s environmental goals including reversing biodiversity loss and achieving net zero.

The BSI Flex standard follows last year’s launch of the Nature Investment Standards Programme, in support of the UK Government’s Green Finance Strategy and Nature Markets Framework to boost market confidence and increase private sector investment into nature recovery and nature-friendly farming.

BSI, in its role as the UK National Standards Body, has worked closely with the UK Government, the devolved administrations and a wide range of stakeholders to create BSI Flex 701 Nature Markets – Overarching Principles and Framework – Specification v1.0. The standard outlines requirements for the design and operation of high-integrity nature schemes, and processes to generate, trade and store nature units.

The standard is intended for use by all nature market participants, especially those involved in creating and trading nature units. As a foundational element in BSI’s Nature Investment Standards Programme, these principles provide an essential reference point for further planned standards that address specific aspects of the market, including on biodiversity and natural carbon.

As a BSI Flex, these principles are being developed iteratively so they can be refined over time as nature markets evolve and alongside emerging government policy. BSI welcomes comments and feedback on the first version, which forms the basis for further review, discussion, and improvement.

Scott Steedman, Director-General, Standards, BSI said: “BSI is delighted to be publishing these overarching principles, which are designed to act as a key enabler of investment in nature markets. Nature based solutions have a central role to play in reaching Net Zero and meeting global environmental challenges. The specification is designed to bring clarity and consistency to the market by establishing a standardized approach for investments that can boost confidence in the integrity of nature markets.

“These newly agreed principles offer an essential foundation to help to guard against greenwashing, encourage investment into an important, emerging market and ultimately accelerate progress towards a sustainable world.”

Green Finance Minister Lord Benyon said: “Nature markets will play a crucial role in mobilising private finance for nature recovery. A strong policy framework will boost investor confidence in nature markets, creating the foundation for these markets to grow.

“As a government we have set out the next steps to close the nature funding gap in England and the creation of the Overarching Principles Standard is another important step towards meeting our goal to grow annual private investment flows for nature to more than £1 billion per year by 2030.”

Scottish Government Agriculture Minister Jim Fairlie said: “The Scottish Government welcomes the publication of this first version of the BSI overarching principles standard for nature markets and the rigour of this process. We look forward to using these standards where they underpin our natural capital market vision in Scotland – values-led, high integrity and responsible.”

More information or to download the standard 

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