Insight 5 November 2021

Plan Zero Consultancy’s Lucinda Lay talks biodiversity impact at COP26

What’s your name and role at Mitie? 

My name is Lucinda Lay, and I’m the Head of Natural Capital for Mitie. For the past year, I’ve been looking at how Mitie can address the loss of biodiversity in the UK. I have developed an ecological consultancy and landscape design service to bring nature to the board room and create Biodiversity Net Gain at scale. 

What are the biggest challenges ahead of organisations regarding sustainability, and how can they overcome them?

Climate change and biodiversity loss are the two significant challenges of the 21st century. The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. in my view, there are three fundamental areas for growth that will enable acceleration of action.

  • Education, measurement and valuing natural capital
  • Financing natural capital protection and enhancement
  • Resourcing change – capability and capacity

You can read more about this from the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) ( and the State of Nature 2019 – National Biodiversity Network ( research.

What is Mitie doing to support its customers?

When healthy, our natural habitats support our wellbeing. They produce our food, act as carbon stores, protect our infrastructure from flooding and erosion, support our mental health and wellbeing.

This is why Mitie have developed a robust service for delivering Biodiversity Net Gain and habitat management.

We are proud to have become a Patron of Plantlife this year. Not only are we supporting conservation and research on our much-needed wildflower meadows, but Plantlife has also been helping Mitie to upskill in this area, which helps us advise clients on mowing regimes that support biodiversity enhancement in their sites.

We’re reviewing how diverse and accessible the industry is to address the shortage of resources, and we’re also building research partnerships with higher education institutions.

We’re building our in-house capability and are already acting in an advisory capacity with many of our customers.

We’ve also made bold moves to become as sustainable as possible in our operations, moving to electric vehicles and landscape maintenance equipment.

What’s coming – what’s the future of sustainability, reaching net zero and why?

You’ll be hearing far more of the term ‘Net Zero with Nature’. Offsetting through woodland planting and soils will be big on the agenda in 2022, and we are already working on this with some of our most forward-thinking customers. 

Which highlights from COP26 stood out for you so far?

Paris set the direction; Glasgow is for action!

What would you have liked to see addressed from the COP26 conference from a biodiversity perspective?

I would have been keen to see more on what can be achieved in our urban environments to create ecosystems where nature and people can thrive side by side, creating habitat connectivity and enhancing landholders natural capital.

How can they manage accountability?

In 2021, we have already seen a number of senior roles appearing with job titles such as ‘Head of Natural Capital’ or ‘Head of Nature’. I think we will be seeing far more of this in 2022.

Contact us to discuss how we can make net zero happen for your organisation.

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