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Natural Capital Market Framework Consultation

Overview —

a response to the consultation on the Natural Capital Framework

Credits—

 Common Weal

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Common Weal is deeply disturbed to learn that the Scottish Government is attempting to apply a privatised market framework to Scotland’s “natural capital” which is defines as “our geology, soil, air, water, plants and animals”. We have vigorously opposed such attempts in the past (such as the 2023 “PFI for Trees” scandal and the “Green Investment Portfolio” in 2020). We have also produced data showing not only that Scotland’s level of private profit extraction is higher than almost all of our peer developed nations but also is already higher than many developing countries which have pursued or had thrust upon them similar market frameworks governing their own natural capital (see our 2024 policy paper “Profit Extraction”). The principles outlined in the proposed market framework betray the intention of the Government to make it even easier for private companies to extract profits from Scotland regardless of their impact on our communities and on the global environment. If the role of private finance in the natural environment is to be defined, we would encourage the Scottish Government to adopt the recommendations of Community Land Scotland’s Natural Capital briefing which includes more proactive land reform, a refocussing of the Scottish National Investment Bank and a better appreciation of the risks to the public purse if policies that “de-risk” private investment are enacted.

For the record, we are also deeply concerned that the Scottish Government has stated an objection to the publication of responses to this consultation and we fear that this will result in the hiding from public view the responses to it received from individuals and private companies likely to profit from the framework. This is entirely unacceptable and we call on the government to publish without redaction all responses received.

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