Waterfall in forest, Lake Vyrnwy RSPB reserve

Campaigning for a better future

Economics plays a crucial role in our conservation policy work.

Campaigning for a better future

When we propose changes in government policy, it is important to understand the costs and benefits involved, the trade-offs at stake and any potential impacts on the economy.

Economic analysis is an important part of our work to reform many of the policies which affect wildlife, such as the EU's Common Agricultural Policy or the Water Framework Directive.

An understanding of economics aids our campaigns and strengthens our calls for the government to act on biodiversity.

Through fiscal instruments, such as taxes and subsidies, the government can ensure the costs and benefits to society of our impact on the environment are fully taken into account.

Those who protect nature and secure public goods through ecosystem services must be adequately rewarded. Those who damage our environment must be made to pay for the subsequent losses in wellbeing.

Additionally, regulation and legislation are important in ensuring businesses and the private sector are required to act in a responsible and sustainable manner towards wildlife and natural resources.

We use economic assessment to back up virtually all areas of our conservation policy work. In addition, we are also working on issues such as green taxes, economic instruments, better regulation and securing finance for nature conservation within the UK.

RSPB Hope Farm, Cambridgeshire

Advising decision makers

We work hard to promote sustainable economic development among politicians, community leaders and other influential groups.

It is important for our arguments to be informed by sound economic theory, so we can have consistency, a broad and persuasive case and ultimately ensure our one million voices for nature are heard.

We are involved with a number of policy steering groups, such as The Aldersgate Group.

This is a coalition of progressive businesses, environmental groups and individuals intent on securing high environmental standards which will lead to economic growth and international competitiveness.

The Aldersgate Group Report - Green Foundations 2009 describes the benefits of better regulation to higher environmental standards.

It also notes that environmental regulation can be a driver of sustainable economic growth by stimulating the efficient use of scarce environmental resources.

These groups are essential in bridging the gap between the values of our membership and those in the corridors of power who can act to protect those values.

Abernethy RSPB reserve. Speyside, Scotland.


The path to a vibrant economy, competitive advantage and sustainable prosperity (PDF, 297Kb)

Green Foundations 2009 - A report by the Aldersgate Group

Assessing the performance of voluntary approaches (PDF, 2.0Mb)

Using regulation as a last resort?