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BwB Talk Series - Ben Goldsmith

The BwB Talk Series brings innovative leaders in impact, finance, and the environment to speak with our network around the world. The BwB Talk Series helps generate new ideas for our network by bringing experts to share their deep knowledge of sustainability topics. 

The latest episode of the BwB’s Talk Series meets us with Ben Goldsmith. A nature enthusiast and an established entrepreneur, Ben is CEO and Co-Founder of Menhaden Capital PLC, a UK-listed investment firm that seeks to generate long-term shareholder returns, by investing in businesses and opportunities, delivering or benefiting from the efficient use of energy and resources. Ben is also co-founder of Nattergal Ltd, a venture dedicated to nature restoration at a landscape scale. He hosts the “Re-wilding The World” podcast series where he speaks to some of the most influential people behind significant rewinding projects from across the world.  

Ben’s genuine fascination with wildlife dates back to his childhood.  

“Anyone who's had interactions with an 18-month-old, especially on a sunny day in spring, knows how mesmerized they are by every little thing in nature. In many people that fascination somewhat falls dormant as they grow older.” 

Ben discussed recent emerging empirical data that shows a direct link between regular contact with nature and our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.  

“We need a connection with nature because we are nature and nature is us. I think this is the big cultural shift that's taking place in our time.” 

During the first part of the conversation, Ben explored how regenerative agriculture and re-wilding can easily go hand in hand. He shared interesting statistics around food production and food safety, and their relation to land conservation in the UK.  

“Productive landscapes, fundamentally, are about productive farming using regenerative approaches that protect the soil.” 

Ben explored the economics behind sheep farming and its detrimental effect to both communities and productive landscapes.  

“National parks make up about 20% of our land in the UK. They produce between one and 3% of the total food consumed. Contrast that with the most productive 20% of the land in this country, which produces 85% of the food. The difference is simply stark.” 

Ben sees native species, like beavers, playing a vital role for the health of landscapes and re-wilding while also protecting from flooding and drought. 

“There is a sea of change taking place in terms of an understanding of what we've lost and an understanding how much we need it back. The result of that is the beginning of a response by politicians to deliver it. I believe we are living in an age of restoration.” 


Ben discussed in detail the role and importance of each of the four main keystone native species which, if pulled out of their natural habitat, would precipitate in a collapse of the whole ecosystem. The four keystone species in the British Isles are said to be native cattle or their wild predecessors, the native wild bison, the native aurochs, and wolves.


Ben passionately discussed the role of each of these species and how learning to live with them (again) could, in essence, drive processes for restoring landscapes at scale. 

“We are not asking to stop farming. We are asking for farming to be done in a different way, the way that previous generations managed these landscapes. The dominant livestock in Wales until about 1820 were native cattle. But instead of 40 million, we should have half a million. Let's have far, far fewer.” 

According to Ben, technological developments and right financial incentives in place, such as countryside stewardships, could position the UK as a first adaptor of a restoration mechanism at a scale unseen elsewhere in the World.  

“There are $700 billion of farm subsidies handed out by world governments each year. And England is the only one that links those payments directly to stewardship and restoration. 

Question Time  

One of the most engaging segments of our Talk Series is the Q&A session between our speaker and BwB. This talk’s Q&A segment was filled with insightful moments, a few of which we have captured below.   

Ben discussed the opportunities for small farmers that lie in natural capital. Ben is a strong believed in the potential of regenerative approaches to soil health. He made an analogy to a person having an eczema applying their steroid cream with precision.  

“The same precision needs to be applied to treating the soil with fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides. Technological advancements, such as combinations of satellite imagery, drones, and soil sensors, could go hand in hand with ancient wisdom. And that's the revolution we want to see in our productive landscapes.”  

Here are some of the Key Messages Ben shared with the team: 

-A land-use framework could be a constructive step forward for land restoration; - We should minimize food waste;  “Back in the 70s, we wasted about 20% of the food today we waste, some people say as much as half. It doesn't feel like a very food insecure country that wastes half of the food that it produces.”  

-With the right policies and high-quality standard mechanisms in place, the voluntary carbon markets offer the potential to achieve scalable restoration across the world. 

-Land should be used to feed people, not factory-farmed animals. 

To stay tuned for our upcoming Talk Series episodes, follow BwB on LinkedIn and X.  


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