IUCN leads the way towards valuing nature in business

A consortium led by IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, has been appointed as one of two global groups to develop the Natural Capital Protocol – a comprehensive guide to measuring and valuing natural capital in business decision-making.  

Yanbaru Forest Photo: UICN

The consortium will work alongside another group of experts, led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The two consortia were selected by the Natural Capital Coalition, a global platform which aims to encourage natural capital accounting among companies and investors.

“IUCN and its consortium partners are excited to be part of the Natural Capital Protocol collaborative project,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. “Thanks to IUCN, civil society will play an important role in the development of the Protocol. We will ensure that the Protocol becomes a valuable and critical tool for the business community to contribute to IUCN’s mission of a just world that values and conserves nature.”

The Natural Capital Protocol is a first step towards ensuring that prices reflect the use of environmental goods and services. It will help businesses across the world understand, measure and value the way they impact and depend on the natural environment –information that is crucial in business decision-making and risk-management, which until now, has been invisible. It will also help businesses understand the risks and opportunities that arise from accounting for natural capital in their decision-making processes.

The IUCN-led consortium brings together experts from IUCN, the IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands, the professional services firm Ernst & Young, environmental data experts Trucost, the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, the social enterprise True Price, and Industrial Ecology Research Services.

IUCN and the IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands will manage the overall coordination of the consortium, together with EY. They will also reach out to stakeholders to ensure that the interests of the members and of the global environment community are understood and integrated into the Protocol, and help identify and initiate pilot projects with companies. Making the protocol relevant and valuable to business users is of crucial importance, as such EY will lead a market soundings process, whilst also project managing the consortium’s activities. A business-led hub will be established to consult on and test the Protocol with a variety of global companies to ensure it is fit for purpose; the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership will run this central hub. Trucost will translate the NCP into two sector specific guides on food & beverage and apparel and will support the pilot testing programme in these sectors. True Price will advise on methodology development and test the NCP in pilots with businesses. Industrial Ecology Research Services will provide technical inputs.

The Natural Capital Protocol is funded by Natural Capital Coalition partners, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the International Finance Corporation.

For further information:

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) press release.

Natural Capital Coalition (NCC) press release

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About the Natural Capital Coalition

The Natural Capital Coalition is the global, multi-stakeholder platform to build the business case and support the uptake of natural capital measurement, management, reporting and disclosure in business and investor decision making. Current Membership consists of leaders from business, government, international organisations and civil society, and continues to be open to business and wider stakeholders who are joining on an ongoing basis.


About the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN’s work focuses on valuing and conserving nature, ensuring effective and equitable governance of its use, and deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development. IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world, and brings governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,200 government and NGO Members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.


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