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Using Natural Capital Approaches to Manage Shared Dependencies Report

A capitals approach helps business to strengthen risk management decision-making, enabling new risk mitigation practices to be identified and implemented. A deeper understanding of the natural capital context, including business dependencies on the services provided by natural capital, provides a clear impetus for businesses to manage key dependencies and build resilience. 

This report explores both the business case for natural capital and how businesses and stakeholders can work together to manage risk and recognize opportunities. 

In light of current economic and environmental trends, it is urgent that businesses and markets adopt natural capital thinking to build their resiliency in a world of increased environmental pressures, changing market dynamics, and heightened accountability. 

In this report, we identified six actions for the global community to help shift markets towards a sustainable and resilient future: 

  • Deepen collaboration through establishing networks and sharing best practice. 
  • Harmonize technical approaches to natural capital through frameworks and standards. This is particularly important for increasing dialogue between public, private, and financial sectors. 
  • Provide additional technical support through capacity building, education, and support for small and medium enterprises that may not have access to needed resources. 
  • Increase access to technology, particularly around natural capital management and data processing. 
  • Advance sustainable financing and the growth in green investment mechanisms. 
  • Develop and use incentive mechanisms to help motivate businesses to start assessing their relationship with natural capital and prioritize resilience. 


This report was prepared by IFC and the Capitals Coalition, with Elizabeth White (IFC), Mark Gough (Capitals Coalition), James Spurgeon (Sustain Value), and Bilal Rahill (Sustainability Framework LLP) as the primary authors.

IFC and the Coalition are grateful to the donors of the Natural Capital Advisory Program—The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands and Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) for their continued support of the exploration of emerging issues that confront private sector investors in developing countries, to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and to The Rockefeller Foundation. We are grateful for the partnership with Barbara Jaeggin, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, and Omer van Rentergrem, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands.

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