Sustainability driven business is the way of the future, but getting there is no small undertaking. To make it easier for companies to reduce their environmental impacts, businesses such as Kering, Interserve, Mars and Asda have banded together to develop a new healthy ecosystem metric designed to support companies as they make the transition to a more sustainable business model.
The brainchild of the Natural Capital Impact Group (NCIG) — a network of companies working collaboratively together to determine how business can sustain the natural world and its resources — and global investor network Investment Leaders Group (ILG), the metric answers the call for a single impact metric that is both simple and influential to decision making across corporates and investors.
It brings together an ILG framework for measuring impact and a methodology developed by NCIG on biodiversity metrics. It aims to aid business leaders in the decision-making process by providing consistent, context-based metrics, in addition to dynamic, real-time and accurate analysis of ecosystem services.
“We are pleased to support this important initiative and lend our own learnings,” said Dr. Helen Crowley, Head of Sustainability Sourcing Innovation for Kering. “While we have pioneered Environmental Profit and Loss Accounting to understand our overall impacts on natural capital, we also see that more is needed to measure and mitigate corporate impacts on biodiversity in particular. The loss of biodiversity is one of the planetary boundaries that is being exceeded and this new tool will help us implement more biodiversity friendly approaches to sourcing and our business.”
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Reducing impacts isn’t just the “right” thing to do — it also makes business sense. And not just in terms of marketing. NCIG members rely significantly on natural capital, making a resilient environment critical for continued productivity. The challenge then is to identify metrics that are relevant for businesses’ decision-making processes, whilst being simple and practical for investors to use.
The metric is based on the impact of a company on the quality and quantity of biodiversity, soil and water. Pilot testing and financing by members of the Natural Capital Impact Group were key in the development of the Healthy Ecosystem Framework. Kering, in particular, played a significant role, supporting the development of the Biodiversity Indicator and leveraging its Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) methodology, while other members focused on understanding the categorization of healthy soil and water.
“As one of the largest land managers in the UK, Interserve has a deep understanding of the value nature provides for business and the wider society. It is committed to collaborating with others to identify new approaches to sustainably manage and communicate its impacts on nature,” said Mat Roberts, Group Director of Sustainability Strategy at Interserve.
“This forms the beginning of a new program of work by the NCIG, focusing on soil, water and biodiversity, which will create a community of practice around critical challenges and identify solutions that can be implemented by business.”
The NCIG has released a working paper, Healthy Ecosystem Metric Framework, detailing how the metric is constructed and provides insights into the impacts on biodiversity.