This article was originally published on the United Nations
“In a move that may reshape decision and policy-making towards sustainable development, the United Nations adopted a new framework today that includes the contributions of nature when measuring economic prosperity and human well-being.
The new framework — the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting—Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA) — was adopted by the UN Statistical Commission and marks a major step forward that goes beyond the commonly used statistic of gross domestic product (GDP) that has dominated economic reporting since the end of World War II. This measure would ensure that natural capital—forests, wetlands and other ecosystems—are recognized in economic reporting.
Experts emphasize that while a statistic such as GDP does a good job of showing the value of goods and services exchanged in markets, it does not reflect the dependency of the economy on nature, nor its impacts on nature, such as the deterioration of water quality or the loss of a forest.”
How does it connect to capitals? The UN SEEA sets an internationally agreed standard for how to produce natural capital statistics and accounts. This will not only provide information to inform decision-making by governments, but also play a significant role in the application of a capitals approach for business and finance as well.