A Verdantix report aims to help chief sustainability officers and VPs of environmental sustainability to understand the circumstances where natural capital — the finite stock of natural assets (air, water and land) from which goods and services flow — is relevant for their business, the risks involved in ignoring natural capital and the options available to them to implement sustainability strategies that take better account of natural capital.
To inform this research, Verdantix spoke with 12 firms with billion dollar revenues that are actively integrating natural capital considerations into their sustainability strategies, along with four experts from not-for-profit organizations.
Why CSOs Can’t Escape Action on Natural Capital shows that corporate dependencies on natural capital, and the associated risks, are becoming clearer. Sustainability strategies need to address the underlying issues and impact on the business rather than just treat the symptoms.
The report also recommends 12 steps for reducing risk and achieving greater success. Among the steps:
- Understanding their organization’s specific risks and dependencies to make informed decisions.
- Identifying the trade-offs that rule the future of natural capital.
- Identifying the right indicators to measure and track ecosystem services.
- Exploring a range of solutions such as strategies to reach new markets, using new technologies or developing new businesses and products.
- Developing pilot projects to test strategies and scalability.
The Natural Capital Coalition — a multi-stakeholder coalition whose business signatories include Coca Cola, Kingfisher and Dow Chemical — is currently seeking to create a framework to standardize how the economic value of natural resources is accounted for and valued.
During 2014 and throughout 2015, the coalition will develop and pilot test the Natural Capital Protocol. Other business partners include FMO, IDB, Patagonia, Perrigot and National Australia Bank.