In Development: a Community Benefits Standard for the UK

In Development: a Community Benefits Standard for the UK
Photo by Joshua Earle / Unsplash
  • The Nature Finance Certification Alliance (NFCA) have incubated a project proposal, that is securing funding from the FIRNS grant programme, to establish an outline business case for a new UK-wide standard for community participation and how this would translate to a clear set of community benefits, under a clear set of community wealth building principles.
  • Funded partners are Deciding Matters, Finance Earth, University of Strathclyde, Soil Association Certification and the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital, hosted by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
  • Further in-kind partner support is received from Scottish Land Commission, James Hutton Institute, the NFCA's Community Benefits Standard working group and the Scottish Land Commission's convening of a Community Benefits Advisory Group; a Scottish advisory group formed of members organisations and public institutions, including Community Land Scotland, Community Woodlands Association, Development Trust Association Scotland and Foundation Scotland. 
  • Through collaborative working arrangements between a number of FIRNS and Riverwoods Investment Readiness Pioneers projects, the consortia will develop and test the commercial viability of a certification product that would provide buyers of ecosystem service credits assurances on the approach taken to generating place-based community benefits. 
  • As a cross-cutting, thematic, “plug-in” certification, it will complement market/ecosystem focused nature investment standards, enabling project developers to sell credits that reflect the additional value placed into local communities and businesses. 
  • A prototype certification product will be derived from a key output of our development phase work: a Best Practice Participation Guide: Community Inclusion for Community Benefit. It will be co-designed with key stakeholders from each of the pilot sites identified, with deliberative input from their wider communities as well as broader stakeholder networks, and critical feedback from an expert advisory board. 
  • This guide will build on and complement existing frameworks, including the National Standards for Community Engagement (SCDC), the Participation Framework (Scottish Government), Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change (Scottish Government), Community Wealth Building and a Just Transition to Net Zero (Community Land Scotland), Green Finance Institute Toolkit, Delivering Community Benefits from Land (Scottish Land Commission) and recent research completed by the University of Strathclyde on ‘Carbon Offsetting for Communities’.
  • It will provide a series of recommendations for community inclusion, with clear actions attached, and insights into the community benefits gained by undertaking such action. The intention is to embed many of the principles developed by Scottish Land Commission on “community benefits from investment in natural capital” and support the development of the British Standards Institute (BSI) Nature Investment Standards framework.

For NFCA Members Only