A natural protocol for business, by business

The Natural Capital Coalition is launching a step-by-step framework to measure and value both business impacts and dependency on nature and biodiversity

Female workers harvesting rice in Bali Photo: Shutterstock / Przemyslaw Skibinski

Business depends on biodiversity.

Regardless of industry, sector or company size, business operations rely on natural resources and processes. For example, food, fibre (such as cotton) and fuel production all depend on biodiversity. The agriculture, garment and energy production industries all require nature and ecosystem services for their daily operations and end-market products.

Business impacts biodiversity.

Business impacts on biodiversity can be a direct result of business operations or an indirect result of global supply chain activities. Business activities, including mining and industrial-scale agriculture and manufacturing, directly impact nature and biodiversity; wildlife habitats are being altered, forests are being converted for other land uses, air may be polluted, and the quality and quantity of water resources are being compromised.

Stopping biodiversity loss is a global priority.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) urge all of us – governments, business and global citizens – to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, […]and halt biodiversity loss” (SDG 15) and conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources […]” (SDG 14).

Measuring impacts and dependencies on biodiversity, and valuing them in context, can help business decision makers identify and understand potentially unseen risks and opportunities – the type of information and insight that can affect the long-term success of a company.

How can we measure the impacts and dependencies of business on biodiversity?

The Natural Capital Protocol, to be launched in July 2016, under the auspices of the Natural Capital Coalition, is a step-by-step framework to measure and value natural capital impacts and dependencies – including biodiversity – in business decision making. The framework can be applied for risk management, exploring new revenue streams, improving products and value chain innovation, and preparing for future reporting and disclosure requirements.

Biodiversity is a particularly complex element of natural capital and of the Protocol. Many organisations are therefore keen to develop this area further, to bring additional clarity and guidance for business.

Because more work is required to address the complexities of business impacts and dependencies on biodiversity in particular, the WBCSD and IUCN have recently joined forces to enable and improve the integration of biodiversity into business decision making. They are now scoping a new project on biodiversity measurement, valuation and reporting.

For more information, contact Violaine Berger, Director, Ecosystems and Landscape Management at WBCSD on berger@wbcsd.org

Go to top