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envecon 2021

envecon 2021

envecon 2021 took place online Friday, March 19, 2021.

Thank you to all of you who attended, asked a question, interacted with our polls, and even wrote a haiku (see the winning entry to the right).


You helped make this year’s envecon just as informative and engaging as ever.

Each recorded envecon session is available for UKNEE members to watch. The links are provided under each session below.

Click here to download the envecon 2021 conference booklet.

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Welcome & Keynote
  • 9:30 - 10:00 Alessandra Alfieri, Chief, Environmental Economic Accounting, United Nations Statistics Division


Session 1: Natural Capital Accounting - 10:00 - 11:30 

Chair: Ian Dickie, eftec

  • Giles Atkinson, London School of Economics and Political Science​

  • Robert Hall, Federated Hermes

  • Carl Obst, Institute for the Development of Environmental-Economic Accounting 

  • Ece Ozdemiroglu, eftec

  • Alessandra La Notte, European Commission Joint Research Centre

  • Rocky Harris, Defra

Break: 11:30 - 12:00

Lunchtime Breakout Sessions: 12:00 - 12:45

  • Natural & social capitals

  • Socio-econ analysis: chemicals 

  • Economic valuation

  • (Re)making environmental policy 

  • Climate change mitigate & adapt

  • Economic sector 1 - water supply 

  • Economic sector 2 - food supply

Break: 12:45 - 13:00

Session 2: Economic policy Appraisal in Practice 

Chair: Nicholas Hanley, University of Glasgow

  • Green Book revisions and social rate of discount, Joseph Lowe and Luke Leatherbarrow, HM Treasury

  • Green Book revisions – what impact did they have? Ian Bateman, LEEP, University of Exeter

  • Role of economics in environmental policy: Experience from Denmark, Bo Jellesmark Thorsen, University of Copenhagen

  • Impact evaluation for catchment management in Northern Ireland, Catherine Glass, AFBI

  • Applying CBA to water quality management in the UK, Jonathan Fisher, Jonathan Fisher Environmental Economics

Break: 14:30 - 14:45

Session 3: Valuation of Micro Plastics in the Sea

Chair: Silvia Ferrini, University of East Anglia


  • Eliciting Willingness to Pay for Precautionary Abatement of Microplastics. Peter King, University of Bath

  • How could marine litter be tackled? A British-Irish choice experiment on beach clean-up and other targeted policies. Gaetano Grilli, University of East Anglia

  • Latent Traits and Willingness to Pay to Reduce Marine Plastic Pollution in Indonesia. Emmanouil Tyllianakis, University of Leeds 

Break: 15:45 - 16:00

Session 4: How to be Heard in Times of Crisis

Chair: Ece Ozdemiroglu, eftec

  • Asif Noorani, Managing Partner at Epiphany Productions

  • Ganga Shreedhar, Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, LSE

Keynote: Alessandra Alfieri

Chief, Environmental Economic Accounting United Nations Statistics Division
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Dr Alessandra Alfieri, Chief of Environmental Economic Accounts at the United Nations Statistics Division, delivers her keynote speech at envecon2021.

In a move that may reshape decision and policy-making, the United Nations adopted a new framework, earlier in March 2021, that includes the contributions of nature when measuring economic prosperity and human well-being.

The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting—Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA) marks a major step forward that goes beyond the commonly used statistic of gross domestic product (GDP) that has dominated economic reporting since the end of World War II. This measure would ensure that natural capital—forests, wetlands and other ecosystems—are recognized in economic reporting.

Dr Alfieri takes us through the framework that many of our community has contributed directly or indirectly throughout the years and sets us markers for what's next. For the launch statement from UNSD and to reach the framework please follow:

About Alessandra Alfieri

Alessandra Alfieri is the Chief of Environmental Economic Accounts Section at the United Nations Statistics Division. She has led the programme on Environmental Economic Accounting at the United Nations for many years. Her leadership has seen the elevation of the SEEA Central Framework to an international statistical standard and the recent adoption of the SEEA Ecosystem Accounting. Prior to working at the United Nations she worked at Eurostat and at the World Bank. She holds a Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Iowa.

Session 1: Natural Capital Accounting

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This session was Chaired by Ian Dickie, Director of eftec.

Natural capital accounting processes are an emerging application of environmental economics. But what are we trying to achieve by using them? In this session we considered what society aims to measure better using natural capital accounting, the recent progress in establishing methods, and how these are being taken forward in the UK and Europe.

The following panel members brought a wide range of perspectives to this topic, which was followed by the discussion of audience questions:

  • Giles Atkinson, Environmental Policy, London School of Economics

  • Robert Hall, Federated Hermes

  • Carl Obst, Institute for the Development of Environmental-Economic Accounting

  • Ece Ozdemiroglu, eftec

  • Alessandra La Notte, European Commission Joint Research Centre

  • Rocky Harris, Natural Capital Accounts, Defra


To gain access to the recording of this session, you can join UKNEE here.

About Ian Dickie

Ian Dickie FRSA is a Director of eftec. He is also a member of the Natural Capital Coalition Advisory Panel, and a Director of the Aldersgate Group. He was an author of the Natural Capital Protocol and has directed natural capital accounting for ports, water companies and other private sector businesses, UK Overseas Territories and local government. In 2019 he managed development of the Greater Manchester Natural Capital investment plan

Natural Capital Accounting & Distributional Issues - Giles Atkinson

Giles Atkinson is Professor of Environmental Policy in the Department of Geography & Environment and an Associate of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research specialises in sustainability economics and metrics as well as, more recently, distributional issues in natural capital accounting. He is a member of the Steering Group for the ONS Natural Capital Project and co-authored a flagship publication for OECD in 2018 on environmental cost-benefit analysis.

Natural Capital Accounting: An Investors' Perspective - Robert Hall


Robert Hall is Associate Director of ESG, Impact and Innovation at the International Business of Federated Hermes, where he works on the interdisciplinary measurement and evaluation of ecological and socialeconomic systems. Prior to 2020, he was the Subject Matter Expert in ESG, Impact and Sustainability in the FCA’s Asset Management Department and on Environmental Financial Technology for the FCA’s Innovation Sandbox. Robert has worked as a technical expert across a number of national, international, central banking, and governmental working groups on sustainable investment, TCFD, and systemic risk. Robert is the Chair of the UK chapter of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials, a non-executive member of the Carbon Laces Advisory Board, and a member of the expert panel and author for the CFA on ESG and Climate-Energy-Economy Modelling.

UN System of Environmental - Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting - Carl Obst

Carl Obst is a Director at the Institute for Development of EnvironmentalEconomic Accounting - IDEEA Group. Carl had a long career with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, including time at the OECD, before becoming Editor of the UN SEEA - EA. He is now a leading player in closing the gap between government and corporate approaches to natural capital accounting.

BSI 8632: Natural Capital Accounting for Organisations - Ece Ozdemiroglu

Ece Özdemiroğlu FRSA is the Founding Director of eftec. She is the convenor of the British Standards Institution’s Assessing and Valuing Nature Capital expert panel which has drafted the BS 8632 on Natural Capital Accounting for Organisations due to be published in May 2021. She is also a member of the UK Climate Change Committee - Adaptation. She is an environmental economist specialising in valuing natural capital assets and using this evidence in accounting and appraisal.

An Integrated System for Natural Capital Accounting in Europe - Alessandra La Notte

Alessandra La Notte holds a PhD in Environmental Economics from the University of Trento (Italy) and a Master Degree in Environmental Management and Development from the Australian National University (Canberra). She specialised in environmental and ecosystem accounting and in economic valuation of ecosystem services, by working as researcher in the Universities of Trento, Padua, Venice and Turin. In her current position at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, she works on the "Knowledge Innovation Project on Integrated Natural Capital Accounts” (KIP-INCA), which aims to design and implement satellite accounts for ecosystems and their services.

Natural Capital Accounting: a government perspective - Rocky Harris

Rocky Harris is a Statistician in the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Rocky is currently the Defra lead on natural capital accounting, having worked on environmental accounts at the Office for National Statistics and at Defra for over 20 years. He is co-author of the ONSDefra publication on the Principles of Natural Capital Accounting and has taken a lead role in the development of the UN System of EnvironmentalEconomic Accounting manuals. He has wide experience of putting environmental accounting principles into practice, being actively involved in the development of the UK accounts managed by the ONS, and in a range of other countries.

Session 2: Economic Policy Appraisal in Practice

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Economists like to think that their ideas and methods have some relevance to real-world policy design and appraisal, and that advances in economic theory get reflected in guidance. But to what extent does this actually happen? In this session we feature reflections on changes in the way in which cost-benefit analysis is undertaken by the UK government, on the use of economic valuation in water & catchment management, and the use of environmental economics within policy in Denmark.

About Nick Hanley 

Nick Hanley is professor of environmental and one health economics at the University of Glasgow. His main research interests at present are the design of PES schemes, epi-economic modelling, markets for biodiversity offsets and the economics of plastics pollution. He has worked with Defra, the Environment Agency and SEPA on the application of economics to environmental policy design and analysis for many years.

Green Book Revisions and Social Rate of Discount Rate - Joseph Lowe

Joseph Lowe is a Senior Economic Adviser in UK HM Treasury dealing with applied microeconomics of public welfare, with responsibility for the Treasury’s Green Book, which offers guidance on the appraisal of government spending to optimise social / public value. He has been largely responsible for the revised content and structure of the November 2020 edition and its predecessor in March 2018. He is also the Treasury’s Executive Editor of the three Business Case Guidance documents covering, Strategic Portfolios, Programmes, and for Projects.

Green Book Revisions: What Impacts did they Have? - Prof. Ian J. Bateman

Professor Ian J. Bateman OBE, FBA, FRSA, FRSB, is Director of the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP) at the University of Exeter, UK. Ian was a Member of the UK Natural Capital Committee, the Board of the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee and various HM Treasury working groups. His main research interests revolve around the issue of ensuring sustainable wellbeing through the integration of natural and physical science with economics and by working with business and policy makers.

Role of Economics in Environmental Policy: Experience from Denmark

Bo Jellersmark Thorsen is Head of Dept. of Food and Resource Economics at University of Copenhagen. He has been working in research for most of his career, including some years in the Danish Ministry of Environment. His department holds long term contracts with the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, for providing economic analyses and policy appraisals.


Bo will talk about how economic research and approaches are received in environmental policy debates in Denmark and if and how they find their way into policy design and implementation. He will also talk about the role of researchers in public policy debates, in the current policy climate, and how universities must have their back.

Impact Evaluation for Catchment Management in Norther Ireland

Dr Catherine Glass is an economist with 12 years’ experience in economic research, including non-market valuation, behavioural economics and opinion dynamics, and is currently employed at the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute as an environmental economist to conduct a benefits assessment of a catchment management initiative.


She has recently been involved in a study examining how behavioural economics and game theory can be applied to enhance agri-environment schemes. Her research in opinion dynamics used simulation modelling to represent interpersonal interactions in social networks with a particular emphasis on social influence and social learning. Her fellow author, Dr Diane Burgess, is also employed in environmental economics at AFBI.

Applying Cost Benefit Analysis to Water Quality Management in the UK

Jonathan Fisher is an environmental economist with more than 40 years experience of delivering applied economic analyses and advice on most environmental matters, including 20 years experience on water and flood risk management. He was economics manager at the Environment Agency (then for England & Wales). As a freelancer, he has since carried out CBAs for peatland restoration and reducing P discharges for the water industry’s PR19. He transferred the Environment Agency's NWEBs valuations for economic analysis for river basin management plans in Turkey.


He is currently helping the World Bank develop and apply methodologies to prepare programmes of measure to improve flood risk management in Romania. Previously he was the UK Department of the Environment’s economic adviser on climate change and an economic adviser at the Treasury. He has a PhD in environmental economics and BSc in economics and accounting.

Session 3: Valuation of Microplastics in the Sea

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This session was chaired by Dr Silvia Ferrini, from the University of East Anglia, who was joined by Peter King (University of Bath), Gaetano Grilli (University of East Anglia) and Emmanouil Tyllianakis (University of Leeds).

Panellists presented their research assessing respondent’s willingness to pay (WTP) for a range of measures designed to reduce and prevent marine plastic pollution. Between them, they covered WTP for changes in cosmetic products (price, performance, and microplastic release) and policy instruments including marine litter clean-up actions, bans on single-use plastic, and deposit return schemes.

The studies covered respondents across the UK, Ireland, and Indonesia, and provided insight into the political and economic viability of different marine plastic pollution reduction strategies within these areas.

To gain access to the recording of this session, you can join UKNEE here.

About Silvia Ferrini

Silvia Ferrini is an Applied Economist at the Universities of Siena and East Anglia. She has extensively contributed to develop non-market valuation methodologies for marine and terrestrial ecosystem assessments. She has more than 30 peer review international articles some of which highly cited. She is member of the Editorial board of Land Economics. She was a coauthor of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow On and since 2016 she has assisted the EU KIP-INCA research team and local UK organizations to develop ecosystem services accounts.

Eliciting Willingness to Pay for precautionary Abatement of Microplastics - Peter King

Peter King is a final year PhD Candidate at the University of Bath Department of Economics. His thesis, "Estimation of the value of precautionary restrictions on microplastics", covers a range of research interests, including water pollution, particularly at the micro and nanoscale, the treatment of uncertainty and irreversibility in policy appraisal, and discrete choice econometrics using both choice experiment and contingent valuation data. More broadly, he is interested in policy impact, public engagement.

How Could Marine Litter be Tackled? A British-Irish Choice Experiment on Beach Clean-Up and Other Targeted Policies - Gaetano Grilli

Gaetano Grilli is Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE), University of East Anglia. His research interests include ecosystem services valuation, discrete choice models, measurement of wellbeing and inequality, natural capital accounting. Gaetano will present results from a choice experiment valuing public preferences for short- and long-term marine litter reduction and prevention policies in the UK and Ireland, discussing the policy implications in the light of differences and similarities across the two countries.

Latent Traits and Willingness to Pay to Reduce Marine Plastic Pollution in Indonesia - Emmanouil (Manolis) Tyllianakis

Emmanouil (Manolis) Tyllianakis is an environmental economist interested in understanding the socio-economic impact of land/water management decisions. His work moves along these two research lines: 1) Understanding how human behaviour impacts water ecosystems and human welfare in return and 2) Capturing the implications of climate change and overexploitation of resources in economic terms and how this can be linked to perceptions. He is presenting findings from a survey on the willingness to pay (WTP) for marine plastic pollution mitigation using the contingent valuation method while accounting for latent traits. Results show that environmentalism determines WTP but not as much as key sociodemographic characteristics.

Session 4: How to Be Heard in Times of Crisis

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Do you ever feel that your research isn’t ‘getting through’? Are you frustrated by the disconnect between research and action?

This interactive session shared insights into what works when communicating evidence. We examined how communication has been changed by the covid-19 pandemic and how we can apply the lessons from this change to our work in environmental economics.

This was the beginning of UKNEE's conversation about learning to integrate communication into our work from the start. More guests and topics will be announced as part of the 2021 webinar series.

The session was chaired by Ece Ozdemiroglu, Founding Director of eftec. Ece was joined by:

  • Dr Ganga Shreedhar, Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research looks at behaviourally smart information campaigns, nudges, and incentives to ultimately create sustainable habits.​

  • Asif Noorani, Epiphany Productions. Epiphany’s work uses storytelling and TV production skills to connect strategy with behaviour to incite change.  

To gain access to the recording of this session, you can join UKNEE here.

About Ece Ozdemiroglu

Ece Özdemiroğlu FRSA is the Founding Director of eftec. She is the convenor of the British Standards Institution’s Assessing and Valuing Nature Capital expert panel which has drafted the BS 8632 on Natural Capital Accounting for Organisations due to be published in May 2021. She is also a member of the UK Climate Change Committee - Adaptation. She is an environmental economist specialising in valuing natural capital assets and using this evidence in accounting and appraisal.

About Ganga Shreedhar 

Ganga Shreedhar is Assistant Professor in Behavioural Sciences at Department of Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, and an Affiliate at the Department of Geography and Environment, The Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, and the Inclusion Initiative - all at the London School of Economics and Political Science.


She is an applied behavioural and experimental economist studying how to change human behaviour in ways that simultaneously benefit people and the planet by designing and analysing interventions that help understand consumer and citizen beliefs, preferences and behaviours.

About Asif Noorani 

Asif Noorani is co-founder and managing partner of Epiphany Productions (established in 2005).


As a seasoned business leader and board level advisor, his boundary crossing skills (across film & TV production, anthropology, behaviour change, innovation) supports and equips public sector and corporate organisations in the core leadership competency: Storytelling. This takes many forms. He has been a Digital Democracy Champion for the Speaker's Digital Democracy Commission, an associate of the behaviour change think tank, NSMC, run storytelling workshops at the Hay festival, delivered many keynotes and authoured two Digital Transformation Guides, published by Wincanton PLC.


As a partner in Permission Ventures, he advises start-up businesses and incubated corporate innovation in the search and telling of compelling stories.

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