09.03.2016 |

Nature Business Benefit Cycle (NBBC) - an innovative concept engaging businesses in nature conservation

Wadden Sea SMEs will be activated using the innovative model of a "Nature-Business-Benefits-Cycle". NBBC is the key to engage SMEs with World Heritage to unlock the potential economic benefit from this engagement, and at the same time to contribute to protection of these sites. In short – Protect and Prosper: Nature as driver for economic growth, and growth as contributor to nature protection.

Building on the results of PROWAD, a transnational partnership scheme will be established to develop capacities and competencies, pool resources and knowledge, and enable partners to share innovation and resources.

The Wadden Sea World Heritage is an example of extremely strong and highly emotional “nature brand” which can be applied on local, regional and international level. It faces a number of demands from various interest groups and sectors across the three countries. The World Heritage status provides significant and new opportunities for all communities, business sectors and the entire economy of the Wadden Sea Region. Studies in other nature areas with focus on World Heritage sites underlined that a thorough approach (quality, standards, sustainability, transnational, inclusiveness) and a sustained effort by many people (innovative involvement, competence development, and long-term governance) is a precondition to achieve significant socio-economic benefits (James Rebanks, 2010).

World Heritage Sites provide input for socio-economic development and incomen. A recent study with the Jurassic Coast estimates that the World Heritage designation brings in up to £111 million per year into the Dorset and East Devon economy annually and helps support up to 2000 jobs (Jurassic Coast, 2016). The surveys highlighted the high level of recognition and appreciation of the Jurassic Coast brand and the positive view of the impact of the WHS designation held by businesses, visitors and residents. Overall, 90% of businesses that responded to the survey felt that the Jurassic Coast brand had had a positive impact on their business. The surveys also showed that the quality of the Jurassic Coast is a key influence for people to visit the area.

A research in the German Wadden Sea National Parks also revealed that intact nature and its good protection by national parks is the main motivation to visit the Wadden Sea. Regional economic effect of the Schleswig-Holstein National Park resulting from "national park tourists" is calculated with about 89 million Euro annually (Mehrwert Natur, 2014)

The new NBBC model is based on the concept, that an increased involvement of businesses in protection of this nature brand contributes to maintain these nature values, and, at the same time, enhances the profile of the involved businesses and their benefits from this engagement.

Figure: This model of a self-enhancing relationship, the “Nature-Business-Benefit-Cycle Model” (NBBC), is the new transnational approach which has been developed for the Wadden Sea World Heritage.

The NBCC model follows the conceptual model of the “Quintuple Helix” (Carayannis et al. 2012). Within this innovation model, the natural environments of society and the economy are also seen as drivers for knowledge production and innovation, therefore defining opportunities for the knowledge economy. It supports here the formation of a win-win situation between ecology, knowledge and innovation, creating synergies between economy, society, and democracy.

Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, March 2016.