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 businesses and financial institutions 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 written for organizations who already recognize the importance of natural capital and wish to ensure their assessments better incorporate the value of biodiversity. It 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.
Appropriate for terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems, the 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.
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.