Bringing biodiversity into the heart of natural capital approaches: April 2018 blog entry

30 Apr 2018

Natural capital’ is a way of assigning an economic value to nature. It views living and non-living natural resources as economic ‘stocks’ from which a number of goods and service ‘flows’ are derived. The Natural Capital Protocol, launched by the Natural Capital Coalition (one of the partners in this project) in 2016, provides a guide to companies looking to assess their impacts and dependencies on natural capital. This project aims to work with key corporate stakeholders to ensure biodiversity is sufficiently incorporated into natural capital assessments, such as the framework provided by the Natural Capital Protocol. For further information please view the CCI project page.

Progress to date

The project is currently on schedule and the team has successfully delivered biodiversity workshops in Brussels, Singapore and Edinburgh. During these workshops, the project team engaged with a variety of stakeholders from different sectors on how to better incorporate biodiversity within the Natural Capital Protocol. Overall, there were 246 participants from business, policy, finance and NGOs across the following sessions:

EU B@B workshop, Brussels: 19 September 2017

Business and Nature Forum, Singapore: 20 November 2017

World Forum on Natural Capital: Edinburgh: 28 November 2017

Natural Capital Coalition event: Edinburgh: 29 November 2017

The team is now working to help stakeholders design their own biodiversity sessions and to capture feedback from a wider set of biodiversity experts. So far, meetings have been completed in Cambridge, Tokyo and Abu Dhabi, with a further 12 planned.

In addition, individual experts as well as Steering Group members have been identified to provide further input into the development of biodiversity components of natural capital assessment through interviews. Both experts and members have been chosen to ensure there is a good range of geographies and sectors represented.

Collaboration between CCI partners has worked well. The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) have led this phase, including managing the biodiversity workshops that included contributions from the other partners: BirdLife International, UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Fauna & Flora International, and the University of Cambridge’s Department of Geography. CISL developed the interview questions and each partner was involved with some of the interviewing. Outlining clear tasks and milestones enabled collaborative working without duplication.

Initial findings

Feedback so far suggests that senior executives require different guidance to technical practitioners. Consolidation of the feedback to date indicates that there is a need to address three key points, to:

·         raise understanding of the importance of biodiversity in business.

·         Create a standard methodology/ tool

·         Provide a simple indicator to measure biodiversity alongside other natural capital components 

The format for senior executives could be:

·         Business case studies

·          ‘Shock and awe’ examples

The format for practitioners could be:

·         Transparent scientific methodology

·         Online tool/handbook/video

·         Infographic/ decision tree

 These findings will be combined with inputs from the non-CCI workshops, expert interviews, and comments from the Steering Group, to create a final report on how to better incorporate biodiversity into natural capital assessments.