Schroders, OSI invest in data tech firm that measures “natural capital”

Schroders announced it’s invested in Natural Capital Research (NCR) along with Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI). As part of the financing round Blenheim Special Investments Holding, a vehicle advised by MW&L Capital Partners, is increasing its proforma shareholding in NCR. Financial details are not disclosed.

Founded in 2018, Natural Capital Research (NCR) is a data led science-based organization that specializes in measuring natural capital assets globally. The term natural capital is used to describe those aspects of nature that provide important ecosystem services such as carbon (CO2) sequestration, soil erosion protection, flood risk reduction, habitats for wildlife, pollination services and spaces for recreation and well-being and provides critical societal benefit to individuals, communities and populations across the globe.

The concept of viewing nature as natural capital that recognizes the true value on the nature’s assets, is rapidly increasing in popularity. While the term first came into use in the 1970s, there are now growing calls for natural capital to be viewed as an economic asset, with the United Nations urging governments to look beyond GDP.

Using leading modelling and data techniques, NCR enables landowners and corporates to map the natural capital provided by their landholdings. It also specialises in advising asset owners on how to enhance their natural capital value and providing the tools to report and validate increases in value over time.

NCR launched a bespoke science-based tool, NatCap Map and has delivered a number of high profile and successful projects for land owners, utility companies and corporates including Schroders. NCR’s services provide scientifically rigorous research which can be used for the development of ESG (environmental, social and governance) considerations, biodiversity, connectivity and net zero carbon strategies.

The investment from Schroders and Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) will accelerate the development of NCR’s online platform to map natural capital assets globally, with further investment in artificial intelligence and spatial analytics. With the significant growth in the monitoring and measurement, particularly of carbon and biodiversity, this platform will become an essential tool for asset owners, asset managers and providers of capital. It also has the potential to validate to the highest standards, nature-based carbon credits and the use of natural capital in flood risk management, water quality and soil improvement.

Kathy Willis, director at NCR, said in a statement: “Viewing nature as an asset and putting it on the same balance sheet as a company’s other resources is no longer seen as an oddity. Governments, corporations, and individuals across the world are starting to understand the critical importance and value of the ecosystem services provided by their natural capital assets, not least in carbon storage and sequestration. The race is now on to determine the location and extent of these important assets, their value, and where and how to enhance them.”

Peter Harrison, Group CEO at Schroders, said in a statement: “For too long the focus of companies and the finance industry has been on growth and accounting profits. The failure to properly account for the impact on nature’s capital is of real importance to long term investors. Natural Capital Research have the potential to fundamentally change how we value natural capital, and how this changes over time.”

Martin Fiennes, principal at Oxford Sciences Innovation, said in a statement: “OSI is excited to be part of the work that NCR is doing to bring rigorous measurement and enhancement modelling to the natural capital field.”


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