Natural England’s responsibilities are as vast as they are vital to the UK’s natural environment. The organisation employs 2500 people and controls a budget of £194 million. Its chief responsibilities are to promote nature conservation and access to the countryside, to protect biodiversity and to conserve and enhance the natural landscape. As with any multifaceted organisation, it must report its financial programme to a host of stakeholders and economists. In 2009, Natural England turned to RSK for assistance in creating a 20-page biodiversity case study report as part of the Natural Economy Northwest project, a £3 million programme to identify and promote the economic value of the natural environment in the North West of England. The aim was to reposition biodiversity projects within the wider context of ecosystem services and to demonstrate how such projects directly and indirectly contribute to local economic and community benefits.
The report was presented to policymakers and economists at the prestigious 7th Annual UK Biodiversity Partnership Conference. Previous publications had typically focused on the environmental benefits of biodiversity projects but, in this instance, the client looked to RSK for an innovative design style that focused on the socio-economic benefits in the case studies. The resultant product detailed the financial and social benefits of the programme and was tailored for the audience.
The design layout was very visual and made use of high-impact professional photographs, which were art directed to demonstrate the benefits of the projects in the accompanying text. This was achieved through images such as a business meeting on a green roof, the promotion of organic meat and young people employed in conservation work. The report was completed to a high standard in just three weeks, including the writing and sub-editing of the text; the setting up, art direction and shooting of the photography; and the design, layout and proofreading.
The final product was extremely well received because it packed with keen observations and presented in a user-friendly style. Following such excellent work, RSK was commissioned to design an accompanying pull-up display panel to promote the publication.