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Aligning Accounting Approaches for Nature

The Align project ‘Aligning Accounting Approaches for Nature’ will assist the European Commission’s efforts to support businesses, financial institutions and other stakeholders in developing standardized natural capital accounting practices by establishing a standardized approach to biodiversity measurement and valuation.

The Align project aims to develop a generally accepted suite of methods, indicators and criteria for biodiversity measurement and valuation tools and approaches that can be used by businesses and financial institutions.

This suite will enable organizations to measure both their impacts and dependences on biodiversity, and to apply this information to inform their decision-making. Align will also work to develop guidance that is sector specific for site-based and supply chain companies and financial institutions. While Europe is the primary geographic focus, this project will work alongside global business and policy initiatives to ensure that our impact extends globally.

The project will accelerate the natural evolution of natural capital approaches and biodiversity measurement and valuation from guidance to standardization.

The project will:

  1. Develop an online community forum to facilitate best practice exchange among business practitioners and other stakeholders.
  2. Establish and operate a business-led discussion and alignment process to harmonize and strengthen existing methods and metrics for measuring impacts and dependencies on biodiversity.
  3. Work to define the needs and opportunities relating to education, training, research and innovation needed to mainstream natural capital management accounting within the business and finance communities.

The Align project will balance the needs of businesses with the need to build a standardised approach that is supported by a broad range of stakeholders. The project team will build on existing work to optimize collaboration between the organizations and initiatives already active in this space.

This includes existing work under the EU B@B Platform, the Aligning Biodiversity Measures for Business collaboration and the Transparent project.

Align is a sister project to Transparent. While Transparent will develop standardized natural capital accounting and valuation principles for business with a focus on air, water and land, Align will build upon these principles by developing complementary guidance focused on biodiversity.

Key outputs from the Align project will include:

  • A set of validated proposals for standardized, biodiversity inclusive, natural capital management accounting practices including sector guidance.
  • A set of generally accepted methods, indicators and criteria for biodiversity measurement and valuation approaches used by business and finance.
  • Sector-specific biodiversity measurement and valuation guidance for site-based and supply chain companies, as well as the finance sector.
  • A standardized approach for businesses and financial institutions to measure impacts and dependencies on biodiversity.
  • Prioritized needs and opportunities relating to education, training, research and innovation.

What next?

Align launched in March 2021 as a business-focussed and business-driven project. Therefore, we invite businesses and other stakeholders in the field of natural capital accounting and corporate biodiversity measurement, valuation and disclosure to engage in this project as it develops. Businesses and other stakeholders can engage at different levels:

Community of Interest

Joining the broader Align Community of Interest will allow businesses to stay up to date on the latest developments on tools and standards related to biodiversity measurement and natural capital accounting. Register here to receive Align updates on a bimonthly basis via the EU B@B Platform newsletter.

Community of Practice

Businesses participating in the Align Community of Practice will actively contribute to the creation of the project’s guidance and standards, ensuring that all outputs are relevant and fit-for-purpose for businesses and financial institutions. Individuals will participate in 2-3 online workshops per year, respond to an annual survey, and comment on emerging documents (more details in the terms of reference). Members of the Community of Practice will be connected through the Align Community of Practice group on the Capitals Community.

Technical Hub

To ensure outputs are scientifically robust and fit for purpose, a Technical Hub will meet twice annually to discuss specific topics related to biodiversity measurement and valuation. Individuals will be formed as a sub-set of the Community of Practice and attend in-person events twice annually (more details in the terms of reference). Members of the Technical Hub will also be connected through the Align Community of Practice group on the Capitals Community.

Advisory Board

An independent Advisory Board will act as a sounding board to the Align project by reviewing and providing input into key deliverables from the perspective of businesses and financial institutions. Members, representing a range of stakeholders, will act as champions to the project (more details in the terms of reference).

This project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the European Commission.

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