Making natural capital concrete

Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) develops and manages the national road and water works and works on maintaining a sustainable living environment. Although ‘natural capital’ does not often appear as a concrete goal when carrying out these public works, it can generate explicit benefits. This is not currently obvious, as natural capital is a broad concept that is not always easy to understand, let alone apply. However, Rijkswaterstaat’s work lends itself well to applying the concept of natural capital. Rijkswaterstaat is, after all, one of the largest land owners in the Netherlands and manages the large waterways and roads. It also develops and manages public structural art works, which could provide opportunities for the use of more sustainable options and could even strengthen natural capital.


Given this background, Rijkswaterstaat has asked CREM to prepare a publication to make the concept of natural capital more concrete. The basis for making it more concrete are ecosystem services: the services provided by natural capital (such as fresh water, pollination, climate regulation, recreation and food), that provide the basis for people’s prosperity and well-being. These ecosystem services will be linked to Rijkswaterstaat’s land and water works, and will be summarized and explained, with examples, in an understandable, accessible manner.

For more information: Jolanda van Schaick