Report: Biodiversity at the heart of accounting for natural capital

This paper by members of CCI (with lead authors from the University of Cambridge, Fauna & Flora International, the RSPB, and UNEP-WCMC) describes how biodiversity is central to the natural capital framework and yet its values are often overlooked in natural capital assessments. It sets out positive ways that businesses and others can better reflect biodiversity concerns into decisions and sets out next steps for future work.

The Natural Capital Protocol sets out guidelines for businesses to help better understand, measure, and value their inter-dependencies with natural capital and use the results for better management. However, one of the key challenges the Protocol highlights is how to incorporate biodiversity.

Biodiversity, the diversity of all living things, is a fundamental component of natural capital that underpins or influences almost every product of service we value, as well as having value in and of itself.

Biodiversity is frequently listed as one of many concerns, alongside (and increasingly behind) greenhouse gas emissions or water consumption and other benefits that flow from natural capital. However, its importance is often missed by organisations looking to understand and mitigate their environmental impacts particularly when they focus primarily on putting values on flows of benefits. 

The paper explains the reasons for these omissions and sets out positive steps that can be taken to better reflect these values in decision-making, including focusing on the measurement of stocks instead of flows. Better integrating biodiversity into natural capital management is key to credibility and better management. 

Type: 
Working papers and reports
Date: 
Thu, 14 Jul 2016