On the 21st July 2021, UKGBC hosted an event on behalf of the IGNITION project with support from the Environment Agency and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The event brought a range of key financial and built environment stakeholders together to discuss the role of Nature-based Solutions (NBS) in adapting built assets to climatic risks. This short report summarises those discussions and sets out the recommended next steps for the industry. 

At present, the UK’s built assets are inadequately prepared for mounting climatic risks, presenting an ‘adaptation gap’ that must be overcome if communities, businesses, and investments are to be protected in the long term. Ensuring climate resilience requires greater investment in alternative approaches to the design, delivery, and management of our built environment. Prioritising NBS as a means of adaptation can provide positive financial returns on investment, in addition to a broad range of environmental and social co-benefits. However, developing and utilising innovative financial models and mechanisms that can support nature-based investment both at scale and in perpetuity remains challenging.

The overarching ambition of the IGNITION project is to develop feasible and scalable finance models that can effectively translate the benefits of NBS into an attractive investment opportunity for a range of financial stakeholders. The event considered the work and progress of the IGNITION project, discussing its successes and innovations, as well as the persistent complexities that surround financing NBS in practice. The following key issues emerged from the discussions and are developed further within the report: 

  1. The imperative and complexity of quantifying the benefits and value(s) of NBS
  2. The need to utilise increasingly innovative financial models and approaches
  3. The difficulty in ensuring investor confidence (both short and long-term)
  4. Ambiguities associated with the NBS supply chain
  5. The role of regulations and regulators in enabling industry innovation

To find out more about IGNITION and its range of evidence and publications, please visit their website.

IGNITION Partners