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Researchers at Aarhus University to investigate the value of green solutions

Environmental researchers from Aarhus University will lead a new EU research project documenting economic gains and financing concepts for Nature Based Solutions (NBS).

Picture text: A wetland area has been created on farm land near Paris in order to reduce flooding and to create biodiversity and recreational opportunities. @SIAH.

Environmental researchers from Aarhus University are leading new EU research to document economic gains and financing concepts for Nature Based Solutions. 15 European organisations join forces to develop a market for nature’s capacity to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Green roofs, afforestation, stone reefs and planting of eelgrass are all so-called Nature Based Solutions (NBS) to the consequences of climate change, and can help adapt our world to a new climate reality. This solution needs funding; but what is it really worth?

In a new EU project, researchers from 15 European organisations aim to create a better understanding of the economic and financial results of Nature Based Solutions, thus making it easier for investors and planners to realise the potential of investing in Nature Based Solutions.

An improved understanding is necessary in order to promote upscaling, attract investments in such measures, and to serve as a basis for the development of a market that enables a broad uptake of Nature Based Solutions, explains senior scientist Marianne Zandersen from the Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University.

”The world is undergoing serious climate and biodiversity crises. Our purpose is to develop a toolbox for investors – e.g. local authorities, pension funds or private bodies – where the multiple benefits of making use of Nature Based Solutions are clear and documented” says Marianne Zandersen.

Presently, no standard methods exist to calculate the economic and financial advantages of Nature Based Solutions; e.g. regarding the reduction of climatic risks, which is crucial for financial stakeholders like investors and insurance companies.

It is about more than just climate
The present EU strategy to handle this crisis – the European Green Deal – considers Nature Based Solutions to be important measures. The environmental, social and economic advantages of these solutions are multiple, from mitigation of and adaptation to climate change and increased biodiversity to improved welfare of citizens.

The new project, Invest4Nature, began in July 2022 and is funded by the European Commission through the research and innovation programme Horizon Europe. The task of creating an open source database that documents economy and biodiversity is led by Marianne Zandersen. The project has received a total of almost 40 million DKK.

Invest4Nature aims to:

- Create an evaluation framework for Nature Based Solutions that will enable risk reduction estimations, carry out cost benefit analyses, and develop business models;

- Present documentation of the advantages of Nature Based Solutions in coastal, urban, rural and mountainous landscapes through evaluation of five existing cases in Norway, Denmark, Poland, Austria and Portugal, which will all serve as Living Labs;

- Develop a Decision Support toolbox (DSS) and a communication tool for promoting NBS in order to accommodate the needs of the investors.

Invest4Nature (full name: Promoting investments in NBS and accelerating market uptake by gaining a better understanding of the economic performance of NBS,  considering climate mitigation and risk reduction) combines the expertise from 15 organisations from 11 European countries, including universities, research institutions, NGOs, SMEs and local authorities.


EU Horizon forskning klima klimaforandringer


For further information, please contact Aarhus University by senior scientist Marianne Zandersen, mz@envs.au.dk, tel. +45 2242 2927

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