On 4-8 November 2019, more than 300 delegates representing business, finance, government and civil society will convene for the first time in the Spanish capital for Natural Capital Week 2019.
The week-long meeting is being championed by leading international business networks who are bringing their communities together in advance of key political decisions on nature in 2020. Organisations participating in the week have united under the understanding that they are fundamentally dependant on the health of natural capital, and that its degradation places severe costs on businesses and economies while making addressing other global challenges, such as climate change and global inequality, significantly more difficult.
They also recognise that protecting, restoring and understanding their relationship with nature is in their own economic interest and that business has to play a leading role in convincing governments that an urgent response to the loss of nature is required.
During the week, leading businesses will explain how a natural capital approach is giving them the tools necessary to mitigate risk, identify opportunities for efficiency, resilience and innovation, and enabling them to deliver value for nature and people alongside their businesses. They will also explore how taking action to protect nature can empower them to make positive contributions towards people and communities, for instance by promoting human health and well-being, societal resilience, sustainable development, and making progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
During Natural Capital Week 2019 organisers will also formally collect business actions and commitments that contribute to the United Nations (UN) Biodiversity’s Action Agenda for Nature and People. This is part of a global biodiversity framework that countries are expected to adopt during the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) taking place in China in 2020. Business for Nature will launch a business consultation survey to test draft policy recommendations for governments to address the nature crisis.
Alongside the several hundred business representatives attending Natural Capital Week 2019, the week will host leading governmental and intergovernmental delegates including Daniel Calleja – European Commission Director General for Environment, Hugo Morán – Secretary of State for Environment from the Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition, and Terhi Letonen, Secretary of State of Finland.
Daniel Calleja, Director General for Environment, DG Environment, European Commission said: “The new political priorities of the European Commission´s President-elect call for the preservation and restoration of ecosystems to guide all of our work. We are working on a new Green Deal with a new Biodiversity Strategy that will provide new opportunities for businesses to invest in – and better care – for nature. In our EU Business and Biodiversity Platform we are partnering with many front-running companies to develop new tools which will enable companies to contribute to tackle the biodiversity crisis through integrating their dependencies on nature into their daily management practices.”
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Introduction from Carl Obst (2017)
Victor Hugo once wrote that “Nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time has come”. Recognising the true value of natural capital, is one such idea. Across private and public sectors, across disciplines, and around the world, initiatives to advance and develop natural capital thinking have emerged rapidly over the past 10 years.
In a blizzard of acronyms, we have the NCC, SEEA, WAVES, IIRC, KIP-INCA, A4S, GRI, EO4EA – among many others. Are they the same, are they competing, are they useful? To both insiders and outsiders this range of initiatives is confusing at best. At worst, it leads to a lack of engagement, avoidance and misunderstanding.
The reality is that, while differences among these various initiatives do exist, they have all been motivated by a common understanding of the reality that we are losing our stocks of natural capital – and that this matters.
While each initiative may have different origins, some differing objectives, and may reflect variations in technique and method, there is much common ground. Indeed, to engage the broader community in tackling the natural capital challenges we collectively face, we cannot afford to focus on distinctions. Instead, we must look to build on the overlaps and seek to build a common language that will enable the exchange of ideas and ongoing innovation.
It is in this spirit of collaboration that the Natural Capital Coalition, together with the IDEEA Group and supported by over 20 organisations, launches this statement on Combining Forces on Natural Capital.
It is especially relevant that this statement of collaboration is launched at the World Forum on Natural Capital, where leading voices in the movement gather every two years, to share best practice, enduring challenges and build further collaborations.
While progress to date has largely taken place in small pockets, in order to move forward we need to ramp up our efforts and move beyond talking with supporters and “the converted”.
For this, we need leaders who can establish spaces for dialogue and development, and who can ensure that technical debates do not form a barrier to progress, that we take full advantage of the diversity of skills and experience already engaged, and that the big picture is always kept in mind.
I encourage you to take the opportunity to read the statement, to share it within your organisations, to sign on, and to join us as we move towards a better understanding and appreciation of the complex and beautiful world in which we live.
Carl Obst is Director of the Institute for the Development of Environmental-Economic Accounting (IDEEA Group), and Lead Author of the United Nation’s System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (UN SEEA).
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Developed by the Capitals Coalition and UNEP-WCMC, the Navigation Tool compliments the Biodiversity Guidance by steering practitioners through a series of interactive questions to help them undertake a biodiversity-inclusive natural capital assessment. The tool also offers supporting resources, tools, methodologies and advice to assist an assessment based on user responses.
Biodiversity constitutes the living component of natural capital and underpins the success of businesses around the world. But the benefit that biodiversity provides to organizations can be hard to fully understand, and even harder to effectively measure and value.
The Navigation Tool questions are tied to the stages and steps in the Natural Capital Protocol and guide users through the Frame, Scope, Measure & Value and Apply stages that constitute a natural capital assessment.