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Biodiversity constitutes the living component of natural capital, but it can be extremely difficult to value. The Biodiversity Guidance accompanies the Natural Capital Protocol and is designed to help businesses better incorporate the value of biodiversity into natural capital assessments.

Biodiversity describes the variety of life and is the living component of natural capital stocks. It plays an important role in the provision of the services we receive from nature.

Once considered a separate issue to climate change, biodiversity loss is now regarded as an equally urgent crisis and its connection to climate adaptation and mitigation are increasingly understood. Biodiversity builds resilience against climate change, supports communities and livelihoods, and fundamentally underpins human wellbeing and the global economy.

Businesses are beginning to recognise this and are looking for ways to understand the value of their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity.

Viewing biodiversity through a natural capital lens can help businesses to recognise previously unseen values that underpin their resilience and success, providing a clear business case for protection of and investment in the health of biodiversity. A capitals lens also enables an integrated approach to environmental issues management that recognizes the links and synergies between issues such as climate, water, sustainable development, equity and biodiversity.

The Biodiversity Guidance has been developed as a stepwise approach to incorporate biodiversity into natural capital assessments. It guides companies through the process of including the value of biodiversity in their natural capital assessments and how to operationalize this information in internal decision-making.

The guidance is appropriate for terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems. 

The Biodiversity Guidance can be applied by all business sectors, including finance and accountancy. It is targeted primarily at managers from operations, finance, sustainability, environment, and health and safety departments.

The guidance is written for businesses and financial institutions who already recognize the importance of natural capital and wish to ensure their assessments better incorporate the value of biodiversity.

The guidance is also relevant for businesses and financial institutions who are managing their relationship with biodiversity and want to expand those considerations to a broader natural capital perspective. The guidance aims to help all stakeholders to engage with business in support of efforts to embed the value of nature into decision-making.

“The guidance helped us bring structure to our work. We had already created an LCA, knew that we wanted to use the Recipe methodology. However, the guidance provided information that helped us ask the right questions to ensure that were gaining the most from this new information. The guidance is fantastic because it helps businesses break down a very intimidating topic. No matter where in the process you are, this guidance helps business integrate biodiversity into their assessments in a step-by-step process.” 


A Biodiversity Guidance Navigation Tool is currently being developed to help guide businesses through the Frame, Scope, Measure and Value, and Apply stages in order to carry out biodiversity-inclusive natural capital assessments.

This guidance is an output of the Integrating Biodiversity into Natural Capital Assessments project run in collaboration between the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and the Capitals Coalition. 

The Cambridge Conservation Initiative is the focal point of research and advice on biodiversity issues for the Coalition.


Developing this guidance has been a collaborative effort, with many partners involved in workshops and activities around the world. UNEP-WCMC has led the final stages to formalize this guidance and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative partners that have contributed to this project include those below.

  • This project received funding from the European Commission DG Environment under the LIFE Programme through Grant Agreement Number 07.0202/2017/762324/SUB/ENV.D2.
  • This project received funding from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative Collaborative Fund.
  • This project was supported by the EU Business @ Biodiversity Platform.

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