Practical tips for making the most of ‘natural capital’

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

Practical tips for making the most of ‘natural capital’
Following our expert interview on how natural capital can transform the industry, we reveal some top tips for how companies can get involved and maximise on it.

This is part two of our interview with Hannah Pitts, Relationships Director, Natural Capital Coalition. Discover part one here​.

Ecovia Intelligence will be covering these developments and more at its upcoming editions of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit​​ (Paris, 5-7 November, and Hong Kong 12-13 November).

What are the latest shifts and innovations that have been seen in this space?

The Natural Capital Protocol is the first internationally standardised framework that helps organizations to understand,  and value their relationship with natural capital.

The development of the Protocol united the global community, with 38 diverse organizations from business, finance, civil society, science and academia, associations and standard setters coming together and donating time and intellectual property to deliver a free, public resource.

In total, over 450 organizations provided input over the course of the project.

Entering the mainstream

As the natural capital approach matures and enters the mainstream, there is a growing understanding that to achieve our goals, we will need to come together and take action at a systems level.

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released its landmark series of reports in March 2018, IPBES chair Sir Robert Watson summed up the need to think in systems.

Land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change are three different faces of the same central challenge​,” he said.

We cannot afford to tackle any one of these three threats in isolation – they each deserve the highest policy priority and must be addressed together​.”

Broadening the conversation

Conversations like this are helping us to broaden the climate conversation to include natural capital approaches and biodiversity considerations.

We now know that soil, forests, oceans and biological diversity are all critical parts of the climate debate alongside energy and carbon.

The systems approach that is inherent in natural capital thinking brings many more sectors and stakeholders into the climate conversation, which will prove to be critical if we are serious about achieving the commitments expected by our global society.

Hannah Pitts’ top tips for maximising on the potential of natural capital:

  • Consider gathering your environmental, value chain, risk management, and sourcing departments leaders from other key departments, to simply discuss where your operations might benefit from better information about natural capital risks and opportunities. You don’t need to begin with a technical approach straight away!
  • Take a look at resources such as the Natural Capital Protocol, and look at case studies from other businesses in your sector or region.
  • Get in touch with the Natural Capital Coalition to discuss who you should be speaking to and what trainers or technical advisors may be best positioned to help you to conduct assessments, analyse results and develop strategy.
  • Engage the C-Suite: We see that many of the leading companies in this space are led from engagement at the top of organizations.

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