Valuing ecosystem services

Understanding what economic value means

Understanding and measuring the economic value of ecosystem services is crucial to ensuring a healthy natural environment that continues to provide for the wellbeing of society overall and support a productive economy.

We collect, analyse and interpret qualitative, quantitative and monetary evidence to help our private and public sector clients to assess both financial and social implications of their decisions. Both private and public sector decision-making can benefit from this understanding in:

  • Making ‘best value for money’ choices;
  • Choosing amongst competing investments with different environmental impacts (for example, between conservation and development options);
  • Prioritising amongst different environmental resources or challenges for environmental policy;
  • Designing policy instruments such as habitat banking, biodiversity offsets, tradeable permits, green taxes and voluntary agreements; and
  • Setting prices for environmental resources, such as water pricing or entry to a recreational site.

We offer 20 years of experience in economic valuation covering a wide range of environmental, health and cultural policy issues and contributing to decisions concerning multi-billion £ investments in the UK and the rest of the world.

We have hands on experience of implementing primary research using all primary economic valuation methods (market prices, avertive behaviour, travel cost, hedonic pricing, contingent valuation and choice modeling), and in applying economic valuation evidence using value transfer often using the ecosystem services approach.  eftec-led production of the UK's Value Transfer Guidelines for Defra. We have been at the forefront of the practical development of the ecosystem services approach and, together with our associates, have contributed to The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and the UK National Ecosystem Assessment.

We led one of ten work packages, looking at economic analysis of natural capital assets, as part of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on Project.  Our understanding of natural capital is now being applied in the development of National Natural Capital Accounts and Corporate Natural Capital Accounting methods for the UK Government and The Natural Capital Coalition (formerly TEEB for business) globally.

With all this experience, our team offers statistical and econometrics expertise and an in-depth understanding of economic valuation and how this can help you make more sustainable decisions.

We have conducted valuation studies for public and private sector clients in both developed and developing countries in a wide variety of sectors and environmental media:

  • Water resources and wasterwater management;
  • Recreation and tourism;
  • Energy generation and air quality;
  • Air pollution and human health;
  • Transport and landscape;
  • Road and rail noise and vibration;
  • Urban regeneration;
  • New housing and urban fringe development;
  • Economic value of cultural and historic heritage sites and
  • Environmental and health impacts of pesticide use.

We also develop databases of economic value evidence for our clients to assist with decision-making. Examples include in water quality, recreation management and flood risk management contexts.

The brochure for our work on the valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services can be found here.

For specific examples of our work in this area please visit our projects page.