Integrating natural, human and social capital into Yorkshire Water’s decision making

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To help Yorkshire Water meet their vision to ‘take responsibility for the water environment for good’, we are working with them to develop a set of physical metrics and financial valuation methods for natural, human, and social capital. This will enable Yorkshire Water to compare the environmental and social values generated as part of different investment scenarios and make more informed investment decisions across their entire asset base.

 

As part of this project we undertook an initial pilot study at Rivelin water treatment works, Sheffield, UK to assess the natural capital impacts of a series of alternative upgrade schemes. We valued the natural capital impacts of land use change, operational resource use and building design, and were able to demonstrate how greater value could be generated from the water treatment works for the same financial cost by choosing an alternative upgrade solution. This project was used as a pilot study to test and inform revisions to the Natural Capital Coalition’s Natural Capital Protocol.

 

Following this, we are now working to go beyond natural capital, to begin to integrate natural, human and social capital into Yorkshire Water’s overall decision making procedures, to support their investment decisions across their asset base. As part of the framework we’re integrating this decision making into Yorkshire Water’s cost-benefit analysis models. This will enable the social and environmental costs and benefits of alternative investment decisions, such as peatland restoration, green roofs and natural filtration, to be compared against more traditional investments as standard business practice.