A common understanding of the capitals approach is growing across business, finance and government, yet there remains a need to make the concept more accessible and available to those at the beginning of their ‘capitals journey’.
A capitals approach enables organisations to understand how their success is directly or indirectly underpinned by natural capital, social capital and human capital, empowering them to make decisions that offer the greatest value across all capitals.
One of the Capitals Coalition’s roles is to demystify and streamline the seemingly overwhelming breadth of guidance and to change the conversation to ensure that the value of natural, social and human capital is included across decision-making. The scope of this ambition means that we talk with organizations around the world, develop international harmonized guidance such as the Natural Capital Protocol, the Social & Human Capital Protocol, and the Transparent methodology, right down to working on specific projects such as this natural capital application for sustainable tourism in Madagascar.
The joint IFC and Capitals Coalition report “Using Natural Capital Approaches to Manage Shared Dependencies”, published earlier this year, lays out three fundamental shifts that are taking place in the relationship between businesses and nature:
- Progressing from the measurement of economic and societal impacts and dependencies on nature to also valuing them
- Moving beyond impact valuation to also take the value of shared dependencies on nature into account.
- Valuing an issue on a systems level and considering full value chains rather than looking at interconnected issues in isolation.
These three shifts allow business to better understand their operations in relation to the environment in which they operate, and to identify associated risks and opportunities.
A new project is now being set out by the IFC to apply this approach in identifying opportunities for investment in sustainable tourism in the Tulear region of Madagascar. In collaboration with the Capitals Coalition and a technical consortium (Insuco and Sustain Value), this work will evidence a practical application of a capitals approach to inform decision-making.
This work comes alongside a number of initiatives that exist on natural capital in Africa. Our Capitals Hubs in Western Africa and South Africa exist to develop and scale the capitals approach within a specific regional or national context, and discussions are underway to explore a potential new Hub in Madagascar. In addition, in partnership with IUCN-ESARO, we are running a five-part webinar series to explore examples, opportunities and tools for SMEs in Eastern & Southern Africa to include the value of natural capital and local communities in their decision-making.
Central to the Coalition’s ambition is the need to change the conversation around value, and to empower business, finance and government to create value across the capitals by adopting a this approach in their decision-making.
Wherever you are on your capitals uptake journey, you may take the following steps to advance your understanding of your impacts and dependencies on nature and people:
- Read the Primer to the Natural Capital Protocol and learn WHY you should be applying this approach to your business decision-making. If you are already familiar with this, download the Natural Capital Protocol and start applying the concepts to your context.
- Explore the Steps Your Company Can Take Now to become nature-positive.
- Join the TEEBAgriFood for business training sessions in China, India or Indonesia this year. These are tailored to businesses operating along the food value chain, from banks and finance, to retail, transport and production. Businesses will learn about the approach from first principles and be supported by our team in applying it to their business.
- Join the Capitals Community to interact with a network applying and developing this approach, or simply to learn more.
- Sign up to our newsletter to receive monthly updates on capitals related news, publications, and events.