The case study database provides an overview of capitals assessments that have been carried out by organizations in the capitals community. Assessments are categorized and can be filtered using the ‘filter by’ and the search functions.
Cases can be submitted by clicking on the button below.
ABN AMRO – Valuing impact on biodiversity
DetailsDuring stakeholder dialogues in 2017 and 2020, ABN Amro was tasked to explore a more quantitative assessment of its biodiversity impact. This report was developed alongside the bank’s participation in the Partnership for Biodiversity Accounting Financials (PBAF), and the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge.
“Biodiversity underpins human welfare and is one of the most important sustainability topics the world must improve on according to the World Economic Forum which has made it one of its key topics in the coming years.” CEO – Robert Swaak.
This study, carried out by ABN AMRO Bank looks closely into what biodiversity means for their business, how to increase public awareness and what impact biodiversity has on the business activities. The report highlights the business’ key drivers behind their impact on biodiversity, which is predominantly driven by land use and climate change.
ABN Amro’s biodiversity impact is assessed using the same drivers as their natural capital assessment; climate change, air pollution, water pollution, and land use. This impact is then translated into the equivalent of a loss of one hectare of pristine biodiversity.
OutcomeABN Amro calculated the differences in biodiversity impact between sectors and regions, split by impact driver. Furthermore, the report helped pinpoint if impacts were direct, or indirect via clients and suppliers. ABN Amro, with the Impact Institute, carried out monetary valuation of the impacts on biodiversity, related to value lost through ecosystem service loss. This allowed the bank to compare relative impact across sectors and regions. Among the sectors in which ABN Amro is active, the most impactful on biodiversity were cattle farming, business services, and shipping. The impact varied across direct impact from clients (e.g. environmental pollution from cattle farming), and indirect impact from clients and suppliers (e.g. energy use of data centers). The report highlights some small changes that ABN Amro has implemented such as their code of conduct with external suppliers and forest restoration. Externally, ABN Amro has financed Jumbo Supermarket’s new sustainable supermarket, focusing on building materials that reduce energy use, and reducing food waste. ABN Amro will use these results to explore more effective ways of reducing their negative biodiversity impacts and increasing their positive impacts. Monetary valuation of impact plays an important role for the bank in this process.
Ofi – Balance sheet approach to Natural Capital Accounting
DetailsLittle Blue Research produced a natural capital account for Olam Food Ingredients (ofi), a multi-national food and agri-business, to understand the natural capital impacts and dependencies of a specific crop business unit.
Technical support was provided to ofi by reviewing and updating current natural capital valuation methods and producing an updated Natural Capital Profit and Loss statement (NC P&L) and a pilot natural capital balance sheet. (NCBS).
OutcomeLittle Blue Research undertook a review of ofi’s NC P&L and provided recommendations for improvements to their existing methods of valuing natural capital impacts. A NC P&L and NCBS was produced for 2018 and 2019, following, where possible, the recently launched “BS 8632 natural capital accounting for organizations” standard to identify natural capital impacts and dependencies, and changes over time Valuation methods were developed or updated and a high-level list of risks, opportunities and recommendations based on the outputs of the NC P&L and NCBS for 2018 and 2019 was produced. ofi used the NC P&L and NCBS developed for 2018 and 2019 to develop and publish natural capital accounts for 2020. They are using the outputs to aid their decision making on various matters such as carbon emissions mitigation and adaption strategies. ofi will continue to develop and refine natural capital valuation methodologies overtime and scale them for use in the development of other natural capital accounts for different commodities. ofi will also seek to embed the use of the NC P&L and NCBS throughout the organisation, especially within the finance function.
SEBIG – Impact measurement of the North American trade show industry
DetailsLittle Blue Research assisted SEBIG, a collaboration of organisations from across the North American exhibitions industry value chain, in advancing environmental best practice and conducting a sector-wide materiality assessment.
The research project used an iterative methodology to:
– Understand and measure the industry’s collective environmental impact;
– Quantify the most important environmental impacts overall and by event/show life-cycle stage;
– Pinpoint gaps in data or capability essential to decision making and industry-wide action;
– Develop a framework for strategic short and longer-term actions for collective engagement at scale; and
– Generate messaging to unite and engage industry stakeholders.
OutcomeLittle Blue Research developed models to quantify environmental impacts including: – Visitor transport GHG emissions; – Venue energy use GHG emissions; – Logistics GHG emissions; – Venue waste (including methods for food and plastic); – Depot waste; and – Booth construction materials. The material environmental issues were identified across the life-cycle of B2B trade shows. From this a prioritised list of short- and longer-term actions was developed for the industry to take forward. Detailed stakeholder mapping was undertaken and data obtained across the value chain for the trade show sector, identifying data and knowledge gaps that currently existed for SEBIG. SEBIG is planning to release a public report focusing on the findings of the study and suggest next steps for the industry to take forward. The findings of the study will also support other initiatives, such as the recently announced Net Zero Events Initiative launched at COP26.
Marilles Foundation – Natural Capital Accounting in a Marine Protected Area, Mallorca
DetailsDespite the enormous contribution that marine reserves and protected areas make to the prosperity and well-being of residents and visitors to the Balearic archipelago, their value often goes unnoticed. In order to make visible its importance and how profitable it is to bet on their conservation so that the benefits they generate can be sustained in the future, a pilot project promoted by the Marilles Foundation and developed in collaboration with Ecoacsa, the Balearic Centre for Applied Biology (CBBA) and the British company Eftec has generated a marine natural capital accounting system for the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Llevant (Mallorca) that allows the economic benefit, that the services provided by marine ecosystems contribute to the blue economy, to be known.
The application of this accounting framework has allowed knowing and accounting for the economic value of the biodiversity and marine ecosystems of the Llevant MPA, as well as the relationship between these, the economy and the well-being of the residents who live and work in the area, along with the tourists who visit its coasts and enjoy its sea.
To facilitate the replication of similar studies, a methodological guide has been developed for the application of natural capital accounting in marine protected areas.
OutcomeThe application of the marine natural capital accounting system developed reveals that each euro invested per year in the Llevant marine reserve of fishing interest in Mallorca generates 10 euros of profit. While the annual maintenance cost of natural capital assets is € 473,137 the economic benefits they bring amount to around € 5 million (€ 4,826,518), representing a total of € 1174 / acre / year. Of this amount, cultural ecosystem services related to recreational activities (diving, excursions, boat trips, beach tourism, attending local celebrations) are the ones that have the greatest weight in the blue economy of the region, with € 3,141,440 per year (65% of the total). Then, at a considerable distance, cultural ecosystem services are followed by regulatory services such as coastal erosion control, which contributes annually with € 772,547 (16%) and the maintenance of biodiversity (€ 447,313, 9%). Net Present Value of future benefits within a horizon of 60 years exceeds € 126 million. The cumulative value of the benefits generated by the ES over the next 60 years would exceed € 126 million if the MPA were to be maintained in its current or improved conservation status. The cost of maintaining habitats, water bodies and species (natural assets) represents only 9.90% of this amount (€ 12.48 million). The difference between these two concepts results in the net benefits provided by the marine ecosystems of the Llevant Marine Protected Area amounting to just over € 114 million.
Natural CapitalSocial and Human CapitalIntegrated Capitals
Unilever & Global Green Growth Institute – Nipa palm sugar production
DetailsResults from the pre-feasibility study for developing a net-zero carbon emissions nipa palm sugar production and processing value chain in the Ayeyarwady Delta, Myanmar, following a capitals approach through the use of the 3Returns Framework.
OutcomeReach a decision regarding the most sustainable model for nipa palm sugar production and processing based on the regionally available resources and the impacts from a business and landscape perspective. This study demonstrates the value of developing partnerships between the private sector and other actors to ensure that investments in new food value chains are aligned with the global consensus of the urgency to take action to combat climate change, protect biodiversity, and ensure fair incomes for farmers. With support from Zawgyi Premier.
Bankinter – Connecting finance and natural capital
DetailsBankinter wanted to understand which investment sectors have the greatest impacts and dependencies on natural capital and determine what level of investment would be needed to reduce or manage them. Bankinter implemented the Natural Capital Protocol Financial Sector Supplement guide.
OutcomeIt was identified that many departments were already working on common goals without a centralized process, leading to misunderstandings. This assessment indicates that wholesale trade, transport, other construction activities and real estate have the highest impact and dependencies on natural capital, which are sectors that Bankinter is investing in most. It has been highlighted that more information is needed for an in-depth finance project assessment. Bankinter will use natural capital assessments again in the future, and continue to focus on quantitative methodologies .
Australian Commonwealth – Improving farm gate profits through natural capital accounts
DetailsThis study, carried out by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization explored whether best practice natural capital management in agricultural businesses can drive profitability through: verifiable environmental credentials and improved access to premium products; access to discounted finance, and improved access to emerging environmental markets. Case studies in cotton, forestry, and fisheries were developed. The main outcome they were seeking was an improved understanding of the relationship between the condition of the underpinning natural capital assets and the profitability and sustainability of primary enterprises.
OutcomeThe assessment is ongoing however CSIRO are engaging with industry partners in focus sectors to increase their awareness of industry interactions with natural capital and its effects on enterprise profitability. They are using the Natural Capital Protocol as a basis for developing a conceptual model of natural capital opportunities for the sector, the dependencies and risks associated with the business operations and to identify key ecosystem processes that drive the delivery of the provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services associated with each industry sector.
ASN Bank – Connecting finance and natural capital
DetailsIn 2016 the ASN Bank formulated a long term goal for biodiversity: a positive effect on biodiversity in 2030 with all investments made by the bank.
The challenge was to develop a methodology, which measures the bank’s impact on biodiversity. Since rarely any financial institutions globally have well-developed methodologies, ASN decided to develop a novel methodology to determine the biodiversity footprint of all its activities (over its total balance sheet). Together with consultants CREM and PRé Sustainability it calculated the impact of all its investments on biodiversity. They performed the first measurement using 2014 figures.
ASN Bank and ACTIAM have also taken the initiative to start the ‘Platform Biodiversity Accounting Financials’ (PBAF), a bottom-up, open source initiative to develop, together with financial institutions, a methodology for biodiversity footprinting by financial institutions. PBAF has now grown to many trillions under management globally.
OutcomeUsing the novel methodology, the overall result of ASN’s impact for the year 2016 was an area of 66.154 ha which lost all of its biodiversity. This is an indicator that has been developed for the methodology. Please note that this area of lost biodiversity is stable as ASN Bank’s portfolio stays constant. It does not mean that each year an area of that size is being added to the damage. Throughout development of the methodology ASN came to the conclusion that more, and better, data is needed for biodiversity foot printing. It is crucial that external databases that collect information on biodiversity are further developed, i.e. Globio, Exiobase and others. Similarly to CO2 measurement, the financial sector needs more and better biodiversity data on company level to identify risks and opportunities regarding biodiversity.
Arla Foods – Environmental profit and loss accounting
DetailsTo document the total life cycle environmental impact of their product portfolio, Arla Foods conducted an Environmental Profit and Loss Account (EP&L). The EP&L expresses Arla Foods’ environmental impacts in monetary units, in addition to the underlying physical units. Arla Foods used the results to evaluate their environmental strategy 2020 in order to assure that its focus was put on priority areas.
In order to calculate the life cycle emissions, life cycle assessment (LCA) is used. Results are presented at mid-point, e.g. global warming, respiratory effects, nature occupation (biodiversity), and endpoint, for example impacts on human health, ecosystems and resources in monetary units.
OutcomeBy using the Stepwise method for valuation, global Warming (CO2, CH4, N2O), respiratory inorganics (air emissions: particles, ammonia, NOx, SO2), and nature occupation (biodiversity), were identified as the most significant. The attributional results showed that terrestrial eutrophication were also important (though less than global warming and respiratory inorganics). Besides using the Stepwise method for valuation, this is also carried out by using the recommended guidelines by the Danish EPA and the method developed by Trucost, which was used in previous studies published by the Danish EPA. This Environmental Profit and Loss Account (EP&L) was one of the first of its kind for the food sector. The results are calculated based on comprehensive data collection and life cycle assessments. The results show that both the value (Profit) and the impacts (Loss) of Arla Foods production and subsequent distribution and consumption of their products are high. The EP&L account gives a broad and deep insight in the impacts from the full life cycle of Arla Foods product portfolio and the underlying contributions. Hence, it provides a good basis for more comprehensive sustainability reporting and for identifying options for improving the performance and reducing the impact.
Natural CapitalSocial and Human Capital
Argos – Application of true value methodology
DetailsUsing KPMG’s True Value methodology, Argos developed their Value Added Statement to understand their impacts across their direct operations.
OutcomeArgos found that impacts derived from GHG emissions represent the highest societal cost, accounting for 78% of the company’s total cost from environmental externalities in 2017. By using alternative materials and fuels as a strategy for climate change mitigation, Argos could prevent up to 11.7% of societal costs related to GHG emissions in 2017. In 2017, we calculated a net value added to society of USD $ 804.3 million, 4.73 times our retained benefit. Operational environmental effects accounted for a net cost to society of USD $345.4 million in 2017.
Natural CapitalSocial and Human Capital
City of Stockholm – Valuation of inland waters
DetailsThe Swedish capital is internationally well-known for its waters, and the City of Stockholm’s Environment and Health Administration wanted to understand the economic value of achieving good water quality in all inland waters in the city, as defined by the EU Water Framework Directive. The client was also interested in the relationship between the costs of necessary measures to reach good water quality, and the resulting benefits. Anthesis Enveco were engaged to provide a monetary valuation of all benefits associated with these waters.
Anthesis Enveco carried out a large scale, web-based survey targeted at the general public of Stockholm. The survey informed participants of the current environmental status of the city’s inland waters and asked what they would be willing to pay to achieve good water quality status. From this, we used established valuation methodology to estimate the monetary benefits of improving water quality, versus the costs of the interventions needed to achieve it.
OutcomeAn online survey of the Stockholm general public revealed that they were concerned about the water quality, felt partially responsible for it, and acknowledged its positive impact on wellbeing. Calculations revealed total economic value of reaching good water quality in all the waters of Stockholm is SEK 2.5-2.8 million (£230-260m), and the cost of necessary measures to achieve this is estimated to be SEK 1 billion (£92 m). Given that the benefits are significantly greater than the costs, there are strong indications that these measures will be socio-economically profitable. The work has already garnered media attention in Sweden as well as considerable attention from other branches of local government and adjacent municipalities. “It is very pleasing and confirms our conviction that our waters are immensely valuable to the people of Stockholm and that they are ready to take responsibility for them.” – Katarina Luhr, Vice Mayor of Environment in Stockholm, City of Stockholm.
Natural CapitalSocial and Human Capital
Alliander – Contribution across six capitals
DetailsAlliander measured and valued the impacts of their operations across six capitals, in order to optimize their value creation. Quantifying both withdrawals and additions to capital stock through financial, manufactured, intellectual, natural, social and relationship capital, and human capital. One example involved investigating the financial and natural capital impact of opting for smart management and reduced power peaks rather than investing in upgrading the network in order to incorporate locally generated energy.
OutcomeValue assessment provided new insights into their activities, and combining data on procurement of goods and materials and data on waste and reuse allowed them to quantify a variety of complex impacts. One successful project, compared the cost of an expensive local upgrade of the network with the social added value provided by a small additional renewable energy supply. The network operator saved € 140,000 and the amount of energy that the customer supplied to the network was reduced by up to 68 gigajoules. The avoided natural capital costs amounted to € 14,000. Overall, there was a net positive effect of 12 tonnes of carbon emissions.
Natural CapitalSocial and Human Capital
AkzoNobel – 4D Profit and Loss Accounting of pulp and performance chemicals
DetailsAkzoNobel is interested in learning more about how their profit and loss is generated, specifically with regards to their relationship with society. To gain a deeper understanding of their environmental (natural), human, social, and financial impact AkzoNobel implemented a four-dimensional profit and loss methodology. They applied this to their ‘Pulp and Performance Chemicals’ sites across Brazil, the U.S., and Sweden. Additionally, AkzoNobel applied this directly to a consumer product that is relevant for their business – production of books.
OutcomeThe greatest benefit of this assessment was for tracking and monitoring of AkzoNobel’s impacts across a variety of projects. The highest impact within the Pulp and Performance Chemicals sites was on financial capital, positively creating value through a combination of salaries, taxes and interest payments, whilst negative natural capital was identified along the value chain, mainly resulting from the use of fossil fuels as an energy source. Human capital was found to be influenced by salary development. As a result of the initial study, methodologies for the assessment of financial capital and natural capital were refined, and social capital was assessed using a semi-quantitative, risk-based method, including topics such as worker safety. Human capital was monetised using an inflation-corrected future salary growth of employees. The methodologies behind the study are now more robust, based on open source methods, and can be applied to all parts of the value chain. Thanks to this more extensive assessment, AkzoNobel can continue to engage with value chain partners and tackle specific actions that help them to reduce the negative impacts and build on the positive ones.
Forico – Natural capital accounting of forest assets
DetailsNatural Capital Accounting provides a framework for Forico to record our transactions with nature, ensuring the sustainable use and renewal of these precious resources. It creates a real awareness of the impacts our production activities have on the environment and society.
By disclosing our most material Natural Capital Assets – namely wood fibre biomass, carbon sequestration, water flows, sediment control and habitat provisioning – and quantifying their changes over time, we can articulate the wider benefits obtained from the ecosystems in which we operate.
Importantly, we can also assess the impacts of our decisions and investments to consume, improve or preserve these Natural Capital Assets.
Integrating Natural Capital Accounting into a familiar and comparable financial reporting framework, provides Forico’s management and stakeholders with a more comprehensive picture of our Corporate Sustainability performance.
Forico’s Natural Capital Report quantified the value of the most material ecosystem assets in the universal language of the dollar.
This value is then presented in the format of a traditional Corporate Annual Report with an Environmental Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss Statement, supporting notes and a Public Limited Assurance opinion from KPMG. The Report has been deliberately disclosed in this manner to best resonate with key decision makers who are allocating resources and quantifying value.
“If markets around the world are to provide a solution to climate change, they need to make decisions based on complete and balanced information on resources consumed and their value creation, not just selective financial metrics.” Rayne van den Berg (CFO – Forico)
OutcomeResults from our first Natural Capital Report demonstrate an overall net positive contribution to the environment in which we operate from sustainably managed plantation and natural forest resources. The Estate’s Net Natural Capital Value for the year ended 30 June 2020 has been conservatively estimated at $3.37 billion but using alternative valuation metrics this figure could easily be as high as $10 billion. The Net Natural Capital Value of $3.37 billion can be split between $400 million to business and $2.97 billion to the wider society. Assigning a financial value to the importance of habitat, vegetation and biodiversity is evolving fast, and leading government offset schemes would value our natural forest areas at more than $5 billion. Hydrological modelling of the Estate shows Forico’s active forestry management practices and 21,741 hectares of riparian corridors within our plantations, as well as our more than 4,500 kilometres of streamside reserves, have prevented 2,420 tonnes of erosion. The 76,830 hectares of natural habitat areas under Forico’s stewardship have been independently assessed by ecologists as being “relatively untouched”. Forico has sequestered more than 124 million tonnes of CO2-e from the atmosphere with a further 57 million tonnes expected to be sequestered by the standing plantation estate before harvest.
Ambuja Cement – Assessment of True Value
DetailsAmbuja Cement estimated its true value in cooperation with KPMG. They calculated net social and environmental value creation and developed a range of strategic responses to the results.
OutcomeThe calculation of Ambuja’s ‘true’ earnings showed that Ambuja generated net-positive socio-environmental value. Some examples included: harvesting more water than it uses in its manufacturing through check dams, river linking and turning former quarries into wetlands, and using waste from other industries in its manufacturing process. Negative externalities included emissions of green house gases, fine particles and extracting groundwater. They were able to develop projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that would also cut costs and capital outlays by reducing fuel intensity and the use of limestone.
Algix – Valuation of environmental savings by scaling up plastic recycling and bioplastics
DetailsAn identification of a possible $3.5billion environmental savings that could be made by scaling up the use of bioplastics and plastic recycling.
OutcomeBy correctly valuing plastics, and pricing environmental costs such as climate change, and the damage to the marine environment by plastic waste, it could provide an incentive to recycle it into new products. If the footwear sector switched to Solaplast, it could reduce its environmental cost by $1.5 billion per year. If the soft drinks sector used the algae-based plastic it could deliver benefits that would total $1.3billion. Dell’s OptiPlex 3030 computer is produced using recycled plastic recovered from electronic equipment from its take- back scheme. if the entire computer manufacturing industry switched to recycled plastic, a possible $700million could be saved in environmental costs.
Natural CapitalSocial and Human Capital
ABN AMRO – Integrated profit and loss account assessing impacts of cocoa
DetailsABN AMRO measured and valued the impact of financed cocoa production across the six capitals.
OutcomeThe results enabled ABN AMRO to understand where they were contributing, positively and negatively, across all six capitals. They identified the material human rights issues associated with cocoa, the largest negative impacts at farm level are on human capital, for example. One key insight illustrates that if certified cocoa to traders would be stimulated from 29% (currently) to 100%, significant natural, social, and human capital improvements would be achieved. Micro-financing services can also reduce underpayment and under earning at farm level, decreasing negative externalities for farmers by 43%.
Natural CapitalSocial and Human Capital
ABN AMRO – Integrated profit and loss account assessing impacts of mortgages
DetailsABN AMRO wanted to understand the contribution of their mortgage provisions across six capitals.
OutcomeThe results enabled ABN AMRO to understand where they were contributing, positively and negatively across all six capitals. Their mortgage provision contributes to financial, manufactured and social capital creation. Negative impacts are on financial capital and natural capital.
The Coalition drives impact through collaborative work programs as well as global partnerships and alliances.
Global Commons Alliance
The Capitals Coalition are members of the Global Commons Alliance, a global partnership between more than 50 of the world’s leading organizations in the fields of philanthropy, science, environment, business, cities and advocacy. Together we scale science-based action to protect people and planet.
Business for Nature
The Capitals Coalition are founding partners of the Business for Nature Coalition, a global coalition demonstrating business action and amplifying a powerful private sector voice calling for governments to reverse nature loss in key international agreements.
Global Goal for Nature
The Capitals Coalition is one of 22 leading non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations who have come together to develop a Global Goal for Nature and to ensure that sustainably managing our natural environment – and empowering its stewards – is an integral part of any COVID-19 response and recovery.
Economics for Nature
Economics for Nature is a partnership led by the Capitals Coalition, the Green Economy Coalition, the Green Growth Knowledge Platform and WWF France to place the value of natural capital at the heart of economic decision making.
The Post-2020 Pavilion is a collaborative effort by an international partnership of many of the world’s largest environment and development NGOs and foundations, as well as several UN organisations and representatives of youth, Indigenous Peoples, cities, subnational governments and the business sector.
The Capitals Hubs are formed by communities of practitioners that develop and scale the capitals approach within specific regional or national contexts or within industries or sectors.
Join the Coalition
Become part of a dynamic global collaboration of leaders and leading organizations who have united around a purpose-driven ambition.
Sign-up for updates
Benefit from the Coalition’s unique overview of the capitals approach and community, gain insights into the latest thinking and developments and receive newsletters and project updates.
Collaborate and connect through our new community platform. Build relationships within the community, collaborate with peers, explore challenges and opportunities and co-create solutions in a pre-competitive forum.