Businesses increasingly need high quality and relevant natural capital data. This is mainly driven by a growing awareness of risks related to ecosystem degradation as well as by the rapidly changing regulatory framework on external disclosure of corporate natural capital performance.
From a business perspective, there are challenges in meeting these data needs. Key challenges relate to the need for harmonization and standardization of natural capital approaches, that will define which data is most relevant. Other key challenges relate to accessibility of data, data quality and inadequate data infrastructure. In terms of data infrastructure, one of the issues is the disconnect between the business community and the statistics and scientific community (governmental organizations in charge of natural capital data collection, such as National Statistics Offices and environmental agencies), which is also reflected by the fact that the large majority of the latter is unaware of the natural capital data needs of the business community. An improved data flow from government (statistical offices and other agencies) to business can therefore be a key element in increasing businesses’ sustainability performance.
We Value Nature, together with the Capitals Coalition and the Combining Forces program, has prepared this Position Paper with the aim to provide concrete recommendations on improving the natural capital data flow between governments and businesses in the EU.
Three key recommendations are put forward:
- Governments (including NSOs) should recognize businesses as an emerging key user group of natural capital data collected by public authorities
- Governments (including NSOs should strive to make comprehensive national ecosystem accounts-based data available that is contextual and spatially relevant for business at least at a landscape level, which will turn out as a win-win for all actors
- Business and government should combine forces and build on existing dialogues to establish a European dialogue platform covering both technical and institutional issues from both a supply and demand perspective.