Commisioned by farmer cooperation ANV “de Utrechtse Venen”, Nature^Squared performed research on the opportunities for setting up a scheme for Payment for Ecosystem Services with the private sector. The goal of this practical research was to find out about the possibilities for farmers to sell ecosystem services to companies. First, we did an extensive desk research. On the basis of these results, we approached over 800 companies, including those with a clear link to the agricultural sector. Although the concept is often perceived as promising within scientific circles, the interest of the private sector was very limited.
Research pointed out that there is a large drive among farmers to integrate nature into their business; farmers were then very motivated to collaborate on this project. Companies that we approached were less enthusiastic: only 7 out of about 800 companies that we approached showed a real interest in buying ecosystem services.
Ultimately, an agreement has been made with only one company. This has led to the establishment of a mini-nature reserve of 2,4 hectares. Due to the overall disappointing response from the private sector, we have enriched the research with ideas that might potentially have a larger effect on private sector engagement in biodiversity. These recommendations have been summarized in the final report. For the complete research, see the report below (available only in Dutch):