First set of UK nature investment standards launched by the BSI

The BSI (British Standards Institute) has launched a consultation on its first set of nature investment standards, with the aim of increasing investment into nature recovery and nature friendly farming within the UK.
April 4, 2024

BSI opens consultation on first edition of UK nature investment standards

The first in a series of planned nature investment standards has been launched in the UK. The BSI and DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) launched the Nature Investment Standards Programme (NISP) last year in an attempt to boost market confidence and increase private sector investment into nature recovery and nature-friendly farming. More broadly, it is set to form part of the UK Government’s Green Finance Strategy and Nature Markets Framework and has been created in partnership with the UK government, devolved administrations and key stakeholders. The work by the BSI comes in the wake of research from the Green Finance Institute which found that the UK will need to increase its investment in nature by at least £44 billion by 2032, to meet its own environmental commitments[i].

BSI Flex launched as the first ‘foundational’ standard

The new ‘BSI Flex 701 Nature Markets – Overarching Principles and Framework – Specification v1.0’ (launched 21st March 2024) becomes the first in a planned suite of standards within the NSIP. It is hoped that this will enable the development of an overarching set of principles along with a common definition of nature investments, designed to support the UK’s environmental goals including reversing biodiversity loss and achieving net zero. The BSI Flex is intended to[ii]:

a) establish an overarching framework to drive actions to create the conditions for consistency and high integrity across all nature markets;

b) support high integrity of units traded in nature markets;

c) support nature markets to deliver positive environmental outcomes;

d) protect against the risks of activity in nature markets leading to negative, unintended consequences for the environment;

e) act as a specification, and a basis for standards on specific aspects of nature markets, against which market participants can seek certification to signal their high integrity; and

f) support the provision of information from nature markets that deters, and/or helps detect, greenwashing.

Following the BSI announcement, Green Finance Minister Lord Benyon said:

“Nature markets will play a crucial role in mobilising private finance for nature recovery. A strong policy framework will boost investor confidence in nature markets, creating the foundation for these markets to grow.”[iii]

He added:

“As a government we have set out the next steps to close the nature funding gap in England and the creation of the Overarching Principles Standard is another important step towards meeting our goal to grow annual private investment flows for nature to more than £1 billion per year by 2030.”[iv]

The BSI Flex standard is now open to feedback and comments which will form the basis for review and further development. This initial consultation is set to close on 1st May 2024.


[i] Finance Gap for UK Nature Report (

[ii] British Standards Institution - Project (

[iii] BSI launches UK nature markets principles standard for consultation | BSI (

[iv] Ibid

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Lauren Foye
Head of Reports

Lauren has extensive experience as an analyst and market researcher in the digital technology and travel sectors. She has a background in researching and forecasting emerging technologies, with a particular passion for the Videogames and eSports industries. She joined the Critical Information Group as Head of Reports and Market Research at GRC World Forums, and leads the content and data research team at the Zero Carbon Academy. “What drew me to the academy is the opportunity to add content and commentary around sustainability across a wealth of industries and sectors.”

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