Awards 2021 Winner’s Spotlight: Best Practice Knowledge Sharing

Ecosystems Knowledge Network

This award was sponsored by

The Ecosystems Knowledge Network (EKN) has developed into a trusted independent hub for knowledge exchange on the theme of connecting environmental stewardship with wellbeing and prosperity. The Network, which is free and open to all, has a membership of 2,500 professionals and volunteers. This includes representation from over 400 local environmental initiatives. It brings people together from across many different professions and sectors, from ecology to economics and health to housing.

Since EKN won this award in 2016, it has gone on to deliver several pioneering events that have advanced environmental restoration in the UK. This included the Natural Capital Finance & Investment Conferences in 2018, 2019 and 2020 and the Accelerating Woodland Creation and Management Conference in 2020. These show EKN’s unique capacity to prompt knowledge sharing on topics that no one professional group or sector can address on its own.

As a knowledge sharing network, EKN’s key assets are the expertise and innovation within its membership that illustrate its vision in practice. Everyone is encouraged to contribute and to share. During 2020, for example, EKN invited two of the 25 Year Environment Plan Pioneers to share their learning with the membership via webinars. A total of 320 people joined these two events and four out of five respondents in post- webinar surveys said that they expected to apply what they had learned in their day-to-day work.

EKN has no core funding and operates with two part time staff. In the context of this level of resourcing, the Network is highly successful in communicating its findings. There are over 2,500 unique visits to EKN’s website each month. In each of the last three calendar years, between 1,100 and 1,500 unique individuals have joined EKN’s webinars.

The growing policy ambitions for environmental restoration throughout the UK serve to underline the importance of EKN’s work as an independent knowledge sharing platform. Its impact, especially given the lack of core support, is significant and it effectively bridges many sectoral, professional and geographical boundaries.

EKN performs an important outreach role in engaging professionals who have a big part to play in responding to evidence found in the UK National Ecosystem Assessment and the recent Dasgupta Review. The EKN website is a go to point of reference for many stakeholders to find evidence on the latest thinking regarding the actions required to address the intertwined climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.

A key part of EKN’s value is the fact it works across professions, sectors and interest groups. Through its diverse membership, it harnesses insight within the ‘environment sector’ and beyond to encourage interchange of knowledge with people from many professions that need to work together effectively for the benefit of nature and society.

Over the last week, we have been posting further information on each of the 2021 CIEEM Awards Winners over on our blog. Further details on each project/individual is set out in our 2021 CIEEM Awards Booklet.