Last week, Paris was buzzing with talk of how to value nature in business and policy decision-making as part of an action-packed “Natural Capital Week” 2018. Altogether, over 1,000 people from across the world gathered at 12 separate events, over 5 days, hosted by 16 convening organizations. At least 20 WBCSD member companies participated.

The Natural Capital Coalition’s “Collaboration Day,” was a cornerstone, bringing together a multi-stakeholder audience of more than 100 experts.

WBCSD was present at the event to showcase our work on mainstreaming non-financial assessments, to introduce the new Natural Capital Protocol Toolkit and to inform the broader community about the new, European Commission funded, “We Value Nature” campaign.

MIT Shift and the Natural Capital Protocol Toolkit

We started the week with the announcement that our Natural Capital Protocol Toolkit is now live on MIT Shift as part of a larger, more integrated resource with a number of benefits, including MIT’s smart AI technology, which automates the process of adding new tools to the kit. The kit was originally designed to help companies implement the Natural Capital Protocol and now can be more easily added to by a variety of organizations.

Mark Gough, Executive Director of the Natural Capital Coalition, highlighted the news at the event and underscored the need to work collaboratively with the broader community.

The We Value Nature Campaign

On the Monday, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), WBCSD, The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Oppla announced that the European Commission has provided over €2 million over the next three years to support a new collaborative campaign, We Value Nature.

This campaign will boost and accelerate existing efforts to embed natural capital assessments in business decision-making. For more information, see the full release.

One take-away from the week was a consensus that the natural capital valuation movement needs to break into mainstream use by business. Eva Zabey, Director of WBCSD’s Redefining Value program, at the EU Business and Biodiversity and BBOP-led event said, “We need to be honest with ourselves. Here in this room, we’re in a biodiversity bubble that’s inside a natural capital bubble, that’s inside a sustainability bubble... we need to pop those bubbles to get into the mainstream.”

To successfully scale-up the implementation of natural capital valuation, it will be important to work closely with specific groups such as the food systems community (led by the TEEB for Agriculture program), circular economy initiatives and human and social capital experts. There was great interest expressed in the alignment and integration of social and human capital, particularly the work of the Social & Human Capital Coalition.

A large number of business case studies were shared at the Natural Capital Coalition’s Collaboration Day, demonstrating the continued efforts of businesses all around the world to better understand and value their interactions with nature.

For instance, WBCSD member company BNP Paribas discussed their strategy for mitigating investment risk by assessing natural capital impacts and dependencies - a strong signal that the investor community is starting to sit up and pay attention to this topic.

The overall impression from this event is that the vibrant and growing community of “natural capital” valuation is now an emerging topic for many businesses, although efforts are still experimental, and performance is far from comparable between companies. The Natural Capital Coalition remains the key multi-stakeholder network operating in this space, connecting business with academics, policymakers and NGOs.

WBCSD is committed to collaborative working that builds harmonization for the benefit of the business community. Next year, we will focus on capacity building and implementation so that we accelerate progress for companies to compete on integrated, not only financial, performance.