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Communicating the Path to Sustainability Through Natural Capital Accounting

  • Calendar September 16th, 2020
  • Time 00:00

This text is taken from the Yale Center for Business and the Environment.

“The urgent need for sustainable management of environmental resources is gaining traction among the general public, the private sector, and government offices. Public and private natural capital accounting can provide the necessary evidence base to enable decision making that incorporates the environment’s contribution to economic development, well-being, and sustainability. But we need to sharpen the narrative of natural capital accounting. Well-communicated natural capital accounts are necessary for moving beyond 20th-century production-based metrics and towards 21st-century sustainable economies focused on human wellbeing.

The year 2020 will be pivotal for the future of natural capital accounting. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators of the 2030 Agenda are slated for revision, many aspects of the Paris Agreement are pegged to 2020 and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be agreed at the COP-15 in Kunming, China in October 2020. Simultaneously, the statistical community is revising the System of Environmental Economic Accounting—Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA-EEA) with the objective of elevating it to an international statistical standard in 2021. The revision of the System of National Accounts (SNA) is also being discussed with the objective of taking into account the new economic environment, including issues of well-being and sustainability. The SEEA is the statistical framework for natural capital accounting that aligns with the internationally agreed SNA for producing national economic statistics. Eighty-five countries and counting currently compile SEEA- compliant natural capital accounts and are promoting its use in decision making.

…A group of international partner organizations led by Yale’s Schools of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Management and the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) will hold a two-and-a-half-day conference in March 2020 at Yale University that brings together leading practitioners, scholars, policy makers, business leaders, and communication experts. The objective of this conference is to advance a shared understanding and develop a collectively embraced narrative for natural capital accounting that supports the Beyond GDP movement, Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the Paris Agreement, and decision making for sustainable economic development.

The conference will address three key questions:

  1. Why do we need natural capital accounting?
  2. What narratives can natural capital accounting convey?
  3. How are big data and emerging technology changing the natural capital accounting story?”

Read on and register here.

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