The Environment Team at Trinomics has extensive experience across a diverse array of environmental topics. Our team of economists, biologists, earth scientists and law specialists provide independent research, analysis and advice, guided by objectivity and accuracy. As a team passionate about the natural world, our work is driven by the possibility of shaping sustainable futures. As such, we have honed our expertise in topics relating to biodiversity, sustainable production and consumption, ecosystems and their services, nature conservation/restoration, forestry, waste, circular economy, fresh water and maritime economy, air quality, and nature-based solutions. Our expertise is further complemented with cross-cutting topics such as sustainable trade and the advancement of a just transition to a low-carbon economy. The types of studies that we implement across these topics are diverse in their scope and application- including approaches such as impact assessments, evaluations, cost/benefit analyses, and consultations. The Environment Team at Trinomics consists of 15+ highly educated staff from all over the world, each providing their unique background to deliver robust, concise environmental advice.
- Nature and Biodiversity
- Air Quality
- Sustainable Trade
- Nature-based Solutions
- Environmental economics and policies
Nature and Biodiversity
Biodiversity, the variety of life on our planet, is arguably the most complex and vital feature of our natural world. It is “the key to the maintenance of the world as we know it” (E.O. Wilson, 1992), encompassing all species, habitats, ecosystems and the interactions between all living things. Healthy, fully-functioning ecosystems provide us with a bounty of goods and services ranging from drinking water, flood defences, medicines, carbon sequestration, to areas for which provide an opportunity for recreation. In a nutshell, human societies fundamentally rely upon biodiversity to prosper, as more than half of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is dependent on the functioning of ecosystems and the services they provide.
Despite the critical importance of maintaining biodiversity, pressures on the planet continue to proliferate through (inter alia) our ever-increasing consumption, institutional failures to manage externalities, and unsustainable land use management. Our failure to engage with nature sustainably is estimated to have reduced the planet’s ability to provide goods and services by 40% per person between 1992-2014, leading to the current global extinction rate at 100 to 1,000 times higher than the natural rate. Ultimately, without the sustainable management of biodiversity the prosperity of current and future generations is significantly threatened.
At Trinomics, we are actively engaged in an array of projects which seek to tackle biodiversity loss, through assisting the development of policies to reverse the decline and building societal awareness of the importance of biodiversity. Our work has evaluated biodiversity strategies at EU-level- identifying key challenges and learnings to apply to updated policy interventions. We have also conducted assessments which have contributed to the establishment of legally binding restoration targets at EU level. Our work also extends to analysing the scale of EU and national financing/financing needs towards biodiversity, costing the requirements of biodiversity-related targets, and through analysing the expenditures of Member States towards biodiversity. Furthermore, through evaluating the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation, assessing the environmental impact of free trade agreements and reviewing the effectiveness of protected areas has allowed our team to develop holistic expertise related to biodiversity in the EU and beyond.
- Water is an essential resource for our continued existence. Freshwaters not only directly benefit our health, but provide key inputs for agriculture and energy, whereas marine waters regulate our climate and support a wealth of biodiversity. Throughout Europe our waters transcend national boundaries, define our cultures and our way of life, yet we often “forget the water cycle and life cycle are one” (Jacques Cousteau, 1997).
- This apparent oversight has led to only 40% of our surface waters attaining ‘good ecological status’ (as per the Water Framework Directive assessment framework), whilst our past and current activities endanger the essential structures and functions of marine ecosystems. Pollution, unsustainable water abstraction, damaging fishing practices all present significant pressures on our waters, across our floodplains, wetlands, coastal areas and beyond. As such, continued interventions will be required at EU-level and globally to protect this valuable resource.
- At Trinomics we have a garnered a well-rounded expertise in the area of EU water policy, through our work evaluating the Water Framework Directive, Sewage Sludge Directive and Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. In these projects we have applied the EU Better Regulation Guidelines to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value of these interventions. Furthermore, our team has a thorough understanding of the role importance of green and blue infrastructure to tackle water-related issues. This knowledge has been generated through analysing the market drivers/failures to the implementation of such infrastructure. As such, we have a team of experts who have an in-depth knowledge of key EU water policies, their interactions, and their impacts.
- Clean air is essential for human health and sustaining the environment, however, the quality of European air continues to be a major health and environmental concern to citizens. In 2017 the public opinion ranked air quality as the most important environmental issue next to climate change. Despite significant reductions of harmful air pollutant emissions over the past three decades in the EU, the latest estimates still point to around 400,000 premature deaths each year attributed to air pollution, in addition to significant negative impacts on ecosystems across the EU.
- Air pollution comes from a broad range of sources, and air pollutants can travel large distances, amplifying existing local air quality issues. As such, improving air quality requires different technological solutions and policy response across different levels of governance. At Trinomics, we are actively engaged in helping policymakers to develop response measures to tackle air pollution and improve air quality across an array of projects at EU and Member State-level. Our work has supported the revision of the Air Quality Directives, as well as the process to strengthen air quality monitoring, modelling and plans. Aside from direct support to air quality policies we have also participated in a Horizon2020 project (ClairCity) engaging the public in issues of air pollution, public health and wellbeing and the future of their cities and regions. Finally, Trinomics is actively engaged in policy analysis to improve associated air pollution sources via industrial emissions reduction measures or vehicle emissions standards.
- EU citizens consume enormous amounts of goods imported from third countries. In 2019, EU countries imported goods worth €1.9 trillion, approximately 14% of the annual EU Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the same year, EU exports were even larger: €2.1 trillion. All these traded and consumed goods generate environmental impacts, through for example- natural resource use and deforestation. As of 2021, the EU negotiated more than 35 trade deals involving more than 65 countries. Even though these agreements are predominantly used to boost bilateral trade and economic development, they can also be used to deliver on environmental goals by implementing stricter environmental legislation and by lowering barriers to trade for sustainable products. Aiming to lower the global environmental footprint and to secure a level playing field for its enhanced sustainability ambitions, the EU integrated these sustainability ambitions in its trade strategy, which should “unequivocally support the Green Deal in all its dimensions, including the ambition to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.”
- Despite the role trade agreements can play in greening society, many trade agreements do not necessarily deliver on environmental objectives. In fact, most contemporary trade deals accelerate economic development and may thereby contribute to negative environmental impacts, such as pollution, and deforestation. Unlocking the full potential of sustainable trade agreements could boost trade in sustainable products, contribute to stricter product standards and thereby contributing to a decreasing global environmental footprint, while enabling durable economic development through the creation of new export opportunities. As such, sustainable trade can decouple economic growth from environmental degradation.
- At Trinomics, we are actively engaged in various projects aiming to green trade agreements. Our team has evaluated the environmental impacts of existing EU trade agreements (with the Andean countries and Central America) and assessed the potential positive and negative environmental impacts of agreements under negotiation (with Australia and New Zealand). Ultimately, we seek to transparently disclose environmental impacts related to trade agreements and to make agreements more sustainable. We have also developed a methodology for improved impact assessments of biodiversity impacts of trade agreements and hosted a methodology workshop for the government of Cambodia.
- Nature-based solutions (NBS) are non-traditional/alternative approaches to tackle societal challenges. These solutions are inspired and supported by nature, to address our over-reliance on traditional (grey) infrastructure whilst simultaneously providing environmental, social and economic benefits. NBS encompass a range of actions, including green roofs, coastal wetlands, rain gardens and vertical forests, providing benefits such as improved air quality, enhanced water quality, temperature regulation and increased biodiversity. Through integrating natural elements in our approaches to tackling societal challenges, such solutions allow us to sustainably manage, conserve and restore ecosystems in an adaptive manner.
- The negative impacts of climate change are projected to, in many instances, intensify in their frequency and magnitude in many areas of the world. This can prove problematic for conventional engineering solutions (such as flood defense walls), which are often unable to adapt to the new and forthcoming challenges we face due to climate change. As such, this can ultimately result in engineering solutions not functioning as intended and requiring (often) costly adaptations to take place. NBS provide approaches which can adapt to and mitigate climate change effects, while simultaneously protecting natural ecosystems and biodiversity.
- At Trinomics, we have built a solid expertise in the field of NBS and green infrastructure through our work for the European Environment Agency, DG Environment and DG EASME. We provide market analyses to estimate market demand and supply of NBS, policy analysis to identify NBS bottlenecks and barriers to uptake, whilst also delivering economic analysis of the costs and benefits of NBS.
Environmental economics and policies
- Throughout history, nature has been overlooked when developing economic models and policies to address societal challenges. As a consequence, growth and development have occurred throughout our world without taking into account the impact that this has upon our natural world. We commonly refer to such impacts as ‘externalities’- the unaccounted for consequences of our actions upon others. Through the valuation of such externalities, we can improve the accuracy of taxes, subsidies, policies and regulations to better reflect the importance of the environment to our overall well-being.
- Without including environmental externalities within our economic models and policies, nature will continue to be ‘invisible’ in our decision-making processes- increasing the likelihood of adverse impacts upon our environment. The environment provides important commodities and benefits to society, such as clean air and water, timber, and flood defenses. As such the environment is an economic, social and political issue which encompasses all sectors of the economy. Balancing the trade-offs between competing uses and users of the environment is of upmost importance to decision makers in order to prevent ecosystem degradation and depletion, in addition to the sustainable management of our resources.
- At Trinomics we provide a range of services which seek to provide decision makers with the necessary evidence to support sustainable actions. We do this through providing (economic) valuations of the services that ecosystems provide, highlighting the societal benefits derived from health ecosystems. Furthermore, we conduct economic analyses of environment taxes and subsidies to steer policies towards choices which limit our negative impacts upon the natural world. This is often complemented with evaluations of policies, and their environmental, social and economic impacts.