Natural Capital Protocol launched today

Global leaders convene to launch new framework that will help businesses make better decisions by including natural capital.

Waterfall in Paksong district, Lao PDR Photo: IUCN Photo Library / © Phaivanh Phiapalath

Representatives from over 160 of the world’s leading organisations, spanning business, finance, accounting, conservation, academia, and policy, meet today in London to celebrate the culmination of a unique collaborative project that has produced the first global Natural Capital Protocol.

The Natural Capital Protocol is a standardised framework designed to generate trusted, credible, and actionable information that business managers need to make truly informed decisions. It brings together and builds on a number of approaches that already exist to help business measure and value natural capital, and, by harmonising them, will allow all businesses everywhere to benefit from understanding their relationships with nature.

Inger Andersen, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature, says: “For business to fully contribute to global sustainable development, it must be able to value and measure its natural assets. The Natural Capital Protocol is a potential game changer in the way businesses operate. We look forward to introducing it at the IUCN World Conservation Congress this September in Hawai‘i, where business, finance, the conservation community and governments will explore how the Protocol can contribute to better conservation outcomes.”

The Protocol represents public and private sectors coming together in a unique collaboration, under voluntary contracts, to create something for the common good, and is freely available to all under a Creative Commons license.

Thirty-eight diverse organisations formed the Protocol’s core development team, and over 450 organisations provided input over the course of the two year project. With the global challenges we face, such collaboration through voluntary partnerships will become ever more crucial, and the Protocol is proof of what can be achieved.

According to a 2013 report commissioned by the Natural Capital Coalition, half of all existing corporate profits would be at risk if the costs associated with natural capital were to be internalised through market mechanisms, regulation or taxation. A water shortage, for example, would have a catastrophic impact on 40% of Fortune 100 companies.

Natural capital brings together the environmental strands of climate, water, energy, biodiversity and waste into a uniform strategic approach. If adopted at scale, the Natural Capital Protocol has the power to revolutionise the way that businesses evaluate their operations and make decisions, helping them to reduce pollution, protect biodiversity, and limit the impacts of climate change, while simultaneously producing positive business results, safeguarding operations and supporting efforts to create a more sustainable world.

The Protocol has been through a comprehensive consultation and piloting process. Organisations and professionals from six continents offered over 3,200 comments during the consultation, and over 50 leading businesses piloted the Protocol, including Dow, Shell, the Coca-Cola Company, Kering, Hugo Boss, Yorkshire Water, Nestle, Interface, Olam and Nespresso, with many more lining up to apply the Protocol once it is launched.

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