Initiative for a better integration of biodiversity in the Natural Capital Protocol
Nature has a value in itself - and that should be reason enough to preserve it. However, due to the diverse ecosystem services provided by nature, it is also an economically significant factor. This is expressed by the concept of natural capital. The economic and thus social value of nature is drastically underestimated. The awareness of this fact is definitively growing. Companies also begin to understand that environmental profit and loss accounts (E P&L) are not an esoteric exercise. There is no alternative to fundamental changes in production and consumption, to how we use the resources of the world and distribute them. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize this.
The Natural Capital Coalition is a global multi-stakeholder collaboration that brings together leading initiatives and organizations to harmonize approaches to natural capital. The Natural Capital Protocol (NCP), developed by this coalition, serves as a methodological framework and guide for how companies can analyze and understand their relationships to natural capital, i.e. influences, dependencies, opportunities and risks. However, it is at an early stage and there are numerous uncertainties and open questions.
When the draft of the Natural Capital Protocol was released for consultation, over 100 comments focused on the need to do more about biodiversity. In recognition of the biodiversity challenges that remain with the Protocol, the Coalition has launched a project to strengthen biodiversity in the Protocol and associated sector guides. The Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and nine international biodiversity-focused conservation organisations, will lead on this work. The process has just begun, the 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative wants to contribute to the work.
Other stakeholders from science and business are also concerned with this and similar questions. In a workshop together with, among others, Kering - who are one of the E P&L pioneers with the PUMA EP&L - the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) recently came to the conclusion that it was not possible to capture all all aspects of biodiversity adequately with the logic of E P&L - "However, given that it is not appropriate or possible to place an economic value on all aspects of biodiversity it was proposed that a separate biodiversity indicator be developed to sit alongside and complement the EP&L. While the EP&L can capture the impacts on biodiversity where it is linked to provision of services, the biodiversity indicator could capture less tangible biodiversity benefits such as the cultural or aesthetic value of, for example, a forest."