Businesses called on to protect Natural Capital for World Environment Day

Two of the key figures involved in the inaugural World Forum on Natural Capital have today urged business leaders that the benefits of properly valuing natural capital must not be underestimated.

The comments were made to coincide with the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Environment day and highlight the importance of natural capital, which is the value of nature to people, society, businesses and the economy.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) director general Julia Marton-Lefèvre said: “Today private companies, governments, economists and the financial community are striving to value our planet’s natural capital and include it in their financial and economic measurement systems.

“We at IUCN want to share our knowledge and expertise to make this process as effective as possible. It is in our common interest to ensure that nature is at the heart of our economic decisions.”

In March a study from The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Business Coalition found that the economic value and conservation of natural resources must be integrated more closely into global business models. 

According to the study, Natural Capital Management (NCM) could be a solution to ensure economic viability in the face of biodiversity loss, deforestation and the depletion of other natural capital.

The results revealed that a small but significant group of pioneering companies are moving NCM forward and expect to build it deeply into their business within the next three years.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust director of conservation Jonathan Hughes said ecosystems would come under unprecedented pressure as the world population heads towards nine million by 2050.

“Agricultural land in particular will face increasing stress as the climate changes and food production increases. Two of the most critical parts of the solution are to reduce food waste and start properly managing the natural capital on which food production ultimately depends,” he said.

Hughes added: “Properly valuing and managing our stocks of natural capital, such as fertile soil, fresh water and biodiversity, will be crucial if we are to feed the world’s population sustainably over the coming decade and beyond.”

Conor McGlone

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie