Co-benefits are the positive effects that an action to tackle climate change may have on other outcomes such as employment, transport or health. Highlighting co-benefits in policymaking is essential to delivering climate action faster.
Natural capital refers to the elements of the natural world which provide valuable goods (such as timber and food) and services (such as clean air and water) to people. Natural capital assets include soils, wetlands, urban greenspaces and woodlands.
Our top 5 climate actions and their natural capital co-benefits are:
Current mainstream agricultural methods emit vast amounts of carbon dioxide which contributes to climate change. Regenerative agriculture, however, is a holistic approach to farming which absorbs carbon into the ground, making it better for the environment. It also improves biodiversity, builds soil health and increases farm profitability.
Bioswales are areas that redirect and filter stormwater and can be used as an alternative to concrete gutters. The plants inside bioswales not only absorb carbon dioxide from the air, they also purify surface water, conserve water resources and reduce flooding. Depending on the plant species chosen, bioswales also have the potential to improve biodiversity.
Community gardens have a range of environmental benefits from improving air quality, making soil healthier, reducing flood risk and increasing biodiversity. They are also a space for communities to form social relationships and reconnect with the natural world whilst improving their health and well-being. Community gardens can also save people money by providing organic, nutritious foods at a low cost.
Wetlands range from deltas, estuaries and mudflats to floodplains and peat bogs. They are one of the most biodiverse habitats and provide livelihoods for one billion people. Wetlands slow down the effects of climate change by absorbing and storing carbon whilst also protecting us from extreme weather events such as flooding and drought. Spending time around wetlands also improves wellbeing by reducing levels of stress and anxiety.
Creating more parks with plenty of trees in urban areas absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and prevents overheating in the summer. They also improve air quality, reduce noise pollution and improve biodiversity. Urban parks are strongly linked to improved health and well-being by reducing stress and anxiety as well as providing space for physical activity and socialising.
The Net Zero Navigator for local governments links co-benefits to climate action. Highlighting co-benefits helps to build the business case for climate action and cross-departmental collaboration. Take a look here.