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Natural Capital at Risk: The Top 100 Externalities of Business

April 01, 2013 |

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 13.44.23This report covers a high level perspective on the world’s biggest natural capital risks for business, investors and governments.

To provide a business perspective, it presents natural capital risk in financial terms. In doing so, it finds that the world’s 100 biggest risks are costing the economy around $4.7 trillion per year in terms of the environmental and social costs of lost ecosystem services and pollution.

Many of these natural capital costs are found in the developing world, but the resulting goods and services are being consumed by resource intensive supply chains around the planet – thus it is a global challenge for a globalized world.

Although internalization on of natural capital costs has only occurred at the margin, 3 billion new middle class consumers by 2030 will cause demand to continue to grow rapidly, while supply will continue to shrink. The consequences in the form of health impacts and water scarcity will create tipping points for action by governments and societies. The cost to companies and investors will be significant.

This research provides a high-level insight into how companies and their investors can measure and manage natural capital impacts. While it has limitations, it should act as a catalyst for further research into high risk areas, and mitigation action. For governments it should spark further debate around the risks their countries face, and whether natural capital is being consumed in an economically efficient manner. The scale of the risks identified suggests that all actors have the opportunity to benefit.


Download the report here.

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