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Assuring the Capitals

Assuring the Capitals: Building Confidence in Natural, Social & Human Capitals Assessments

Understanding the consequences of business on nature and people, previously viewed as ‘externalities’, is now critical to transforming business models and markets to deliver sustainable economies. Companies are recognizing their impacts and dependencies on the capitals form the foundation of financial decision-making to create human well-being and economic success.  

Providing assurance on business impacts and dependencies on the capitals is an evolving field which must mature quickly to keep up with the global market and regulatory trends. A seismic change is coming for companies who seek to operationalize sustainability commitments, report on performance, and/or have their data assured to build credibility. 

This report presents the steps required to increase decision makers’ confidence in natural, human, and social capitals assessments through assurance and audit. Guided by an Expert Working Group, the report is a formulation of primary and secondary research, interviews and roundtables conducted with a wide range of stakeholders, aimed to understand how confidence can be built in the assurance of capitals assessments. 

It explores why companies should engage in assurance of capitals assessments and which activities will drive greater confidence in the process. 

Next steps:

The report identifies the next steps that can, and must, be taken to build confidence in capitals assessments: 

  • Collaborate with other organizations & existing work to develop suitable assurable criteria for the process of developing capitals assessments 
  • Create supporting guidance and training for assurers on how existing guidance can be applied to a capitals assessment context 
  • Develop guidance on how to use the results of capitals assessments to inform basic business decisions, what resources are needed, and where they can be sourced 
  • Create further awareness about how capitals assessment links to the business agenda and relates to the wider developments in sustainability 
  • Engage influential market stakeholders to share the importance of capitals assessments and assurance 

The Capitals Coalition will seek to further this agenda in collaboration with its global community. It also encourages others to use the findings of the report and act to build confidence in capitals assessments and help create a world that values the contribution of all the capitals. 

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