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Natural Capital Protocol Will Demystify Business Value of Nature

The Natural Capital Coalition (NCC) announced this week its selection of two consortia to develop what will be known as the Natural Capital Protocol.

The Natural Capital Coalition (NCC) announced this week its selection of two consortia to develop what will be known as the Natural Capital Protocol.

The Coalition says the Protocol will be a global, open source, multi-stakeholder framework for organizations across countries and sectors to understand, measure and value their impacts and dependencies on the natural environment, its finite natural resources and functioning ecosystems; and understand the risks and opportunities presented when natural capital is accounted for in business decision-making. The NCC is calling the Protocol “a major game-changer in building the business case for sustainability.”

The NCC is bringing together the world’s leading institutions on the subject in the form of two consortia from the worlds of business, accountancy, consultancy, financial institutions and NGOs. The two consortia are managed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“Following a robust tender process, we are pleased to have been able to select this group of experts with outstanding knowledge and expertise to undertake this task,” says Richard Fleck CBE, chair of the NCC’s independent selection committee.

Through a consultative approach, the Protocol will aggregate and harmonize the multitude of methodologies that exist around the world into one framework, which will serve as the basis for future standard-setting and methodologies in this field.

The group managed by the WBCSD will bring together various methodologies, systems and ideas currently in the market into a single measurement and valuation framework for natural capital. The IUCN-led consortium will then translate the Protocol into two sector-specific guides for food & beverage and apparel; it will also manage a central hub which will deliver a business-led pilot testing of the NCP with a variety of global companies in these sectors.

“Having WBCSD and IUCN-led consortia develop the Natural Capital Protocol is exciting as it underlines the global importance of this work,” commented Robert Hodgkinson, chairman of the Natural Capital Coalition.

“We are delighted that our consortium will co-lead the development of the Natural Capital Protocol with IUCN’s team,” said WBCSD CEO and president Peter Bakker. “WBCSD and its partners have been driving the measurement and valuation of corporate impacts and dependencies, providing business with building blocks that will support this push towards a harmonised corporate approach. This is the vital next stage in our ongoing efforts to improve the overall business case for sustainability.”

Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN, said: “IUCN and its consortium partners are very pleased to be part of the Natural Capital Protocol collaborative project. Through IUCN, civil society’s voice will be included in the development of a harmonized Protocol. We will ensure that this becomes a valuable and critical enabler for the business community to contribute to IUCN’s mission of a just world that values and conserves nature."

Development of the Protocol is being funded by NCC partners the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs through the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.

The NCC expects to present a fully tested first version of the Protocol by December 2015.