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Towards A New Economic Paradigm: The Role of Integrated Decision-making Across Nature, People, Society and the Economy

The magnitude of the challenges for the future of business cannot be overstated. We stand at the precipice of a new normal, where adapting and thriving requires operating within ecological boundaries while enhancing and safeguarding the wellbeing of billions of people on our planet.

We know that conventional measures of economic success are insufficient if businesses wish to thrive in this uncharted territory. To mitigate the impacts of climate change, reverse the loss of biodiversity, eradicate extreme social inequity, and enhance global well-being, a radical shift in our approach is required. We must embrace a new economic paradigm that recognizes and acts upon the fundamental interconnections between the health of nature, the well-being of people, and the success of global financial markets and economic activity.

This new way of thinking allows organizations to develop a more integrated and holistic perspective of the capitals, understanding that any impact or dependency placed on one capital ripples across the system, causing changes in the other capitals. Embracing and making sense of these complex relationships within decision-making, will enable organizations transform their practices to address the interconnected global challenges we face today and futureproof their businesses.

Capitals Coalition has an essential role to play in delivering this transformative change. We have long championed for a comprehensive overhaul of business-as usual practices and existing measures of economic success. Together with our global partners, we are developing the tools and frameworks that will support businesses in charting this new course.

This paper sets out the progress so far in the thinking and development of our new flagship framework, the Capitals Protocol. Building upon the guidance set out in the Natural Capital Protocol (2016) and the Social & Human Capital Protocol (2019), the Capitals Protocol will provide businesses with a unified framework to identify, measure and value their impacts and dependencies on natural, social, human, and produced capital to inform their decision-making and deliver positive outcomes for nature, people and economies.

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