The Coca-Cola Company, Dow Chemical and Duke Energy are among 24 major companies that have agreed to develop a methodology to assign value to the world’s forests, freshwater and marine systems. The Corporate Eco Forum and The Nature Conservancy are leading the Valuing Natural Capital initiative, announced at the United Nations’ Rio+20 Earth Summit.
Committed firms also include Alcoa, CH2M Hill, Clorox, Darden, Dell, Disney, Ecolab, EKO Asset Management Partners, Enterprise, FEMSA, GM, Hanes, Kimberly-Clark, Lockheed-Martin, Marriott, Nike, Patagonia, TD Bank, Unilever, Weyerhaeuser and Xerox.
In the New Business Imperative: Valuing Natural Capital report, the organizations lay out a four-step framework for the methodology, which includes reducing risks caused by scarcities of natural resources; finding ways to cut costs while reducing impacts to ecosystems; enhancing brand and reputation and winning trust from customers who value sustainability leadership; and fueling revenue growth from products and services that don’t harm ecosystems.
The declaration was designed to complement other Rio+20 initiatives working to embed natural capital considerations across business, finance and national accounting systems. “Natural capital” is a term for the goods and services ecosystems provide, such as fresh water and food.
Leaders of 37 banks, investment funds and insurance companies agreed at the summit to take better stock of the unsustainable stress put on ecosystems by the economic activity they manage, and work towards integrating natural capital into their products and services.
The Natural Capital Declaration, created by the UN Environment Program Finance Initiative, Global Canopy Program and Center for Sustainable Studies of the Business Administration School of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, calls for financial institutions to incorporate natural capital considerations into the risk assessment procedures they undergo before making a loan, equity, bond or insurance products-related decision.
The declaration also calls for policymakers at Rio+ to begin crafting legislation and regulations that can encourage the development of financial products and services that take account of and sustain the Earth’s natural capital.
The signatories are Athelia Ecosphere, ASN Bank, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Banco Multiva, Banco Pichincha, Banorte – Ixe, Caisse des Depots, Caixa Econômica Federal, Caledonia Wealth Management, Ltd., Calvert Investments, CDC Climat, China Merchants Bank, CIBanco, Cyrte Investments, Financiera Rural, FIRA – Banco de Mexico, Fundación Social, Infraprev, International Finance Corporation, MN, Mongeral Aegon, Mutualista Pichincha, National Australia Bank, Nedbank, Oppenheim, PaxWorld Management, Rabobank Group, Robeco, Shenzhen Development Bank, SNS Asset Management, Société Forestière, Sovereign, Standard Chartered, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holding, UniCredit, Vision Banco, Zevin Asset Management.
In other Rio+ Earth Summit news:
Mars Inc. announced it has agreed to The Leadership Compact, a statement of intent by global business leaders committing to value and maintain the Earth’s natural capital. The compact, convened by the University of Cambridge Program for Sustainability Leadership, seeks an agreement from business leaders while simultaneously urging international governments to align economic development with the sustainable use of natural resources.