The Natural Capital Protocol has been launched, a guide for businesses to measure, manage and value their natural assets.
The guide for natural capital – the combination of renewable and non-renewable resources such as plants, animals, air, water, soils, minerals that brings benefits to people – aims to help businesses manage areas such as operations and legal and compliance in this context. For example, by following the guide businesses might have reduced raw material costs or compliance costs.
Aecom’s director of sustainability for the environment and ground engineering Robert Spencer said the guide was a “momentous step forward”, arguing it would bring consistency to the market.
“Success, however, will hinge on companies’ ability to integrate natural capital assessments into their everyday decision-making. While the protocol arms sustainability professionals with robust guidance on how to measure the value of natural capital, progress is dependent on achieving buy-in from more commercially focused departments, such as finance and procurement,” he said.
Spencer argued that specialist skills and resources will be needed to do this, which companies might not have in house.
“Many of the remaining hurdles involve familiar business challenges such as leading cultural change, establishing new roles and responsibilities, and fostering cross-departmental collaboration. Companies that put these goals at the top of their agenda will be better placed to compete,” he added.