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Natural Capital Impact Group introduces new biodiversity metric to help companies and investors improve impact on natural environment

last modified May 19, 2017 11:28 AM
22 May 2017 – On World Biodiversity Day, a global network of companies, including Kering, Interserve, Mars and Asda, working together to determine how business can sustain the natural world and its resources, has released the initial stage of their work in developing a metric to help corporates improve their impact on the natural environment.

Read the Healthy ecosystem metric framework.

The metric is the result of a unique collaboration between the Natural Capital Impact Group (NCIG) and a global network of investors called the Investment Leaders Group (ILG), with key support from members of the Natural Capital Impact Group.

It brings together a framework developed by the ILG for measuring impact and a methodology developed by NCIG on biodiversity metrics. The framework aims to provide companies and investors with consistent, context based metrics that can support corporate decision-making and demonstrate positive impacts, whilst the methodology incorporates more dynamic, real-time and accurate analysis of ecosystem services.

Company productivity is dependent upon a resilient environment. It therefore makes business sense for investors and companies to demonstrate positive impacts and show they are reversing the trend of natural environment degradation. The challenge is to identify metrics that are relevant for businesses’ decision-making processes, whilst being simple and practical for investors to use.

The metric is based on the impact of a company upon the quality and quantity of biodiversity, soil and water. A working paper published today, Healthy ecosystem metric framework by NCIG, details how this metric is constructed and provides insight into the impacts on biodiversity.

Charlotte Cool, VP Corporate Affairs, Asda said:

“Businesses need simple, understandable metrics to consistently demonstrate their positive impacts to protect the natural environment. We are pleased to support the Natural Capital Impact Group in developing these.”

Dr Gemma Cranston, Director of CISL’s Natural Resource Security Portfolio, said:

“A need has been identified for a single natural capital impact metric which is simple and influential to decision making across corporates and investors. The Natural Capital Impact Group is pleased to share its concept on how this metric can be constructed following input from major companies and investors.”

Dr Helen Crowley, Head of Sustainability Sourcing Innovation, Kering, said:

“We are pleased to support this important initiative and lend our own learnings. While we have pioneered Environmental Profit and Loss Accounting to understand our overall impacts on natural capital, we also see that more is needed to measure and mitigate corporate impacts on biodiversity in particular.  The loss of biodiversity is one of the planetary boundaries that is being exceeded and this new tool will help us implement more biodiversity-friendly approaches to sourcing and our business.”

Adrian Greet, ‎Global Sustainability Programme Director, Mars Incorporated said:

“A new metric to enable companies to measure and demonstrate its impacts on biodiversity will help businesses and investors to embed natural capital into decision-making.”

Mat Roberts, Group Director of Sustainability Strategy, Interserve explained:

“As one of the largest land managers in the UK, Interserve has a deep understanding of the value nature provides for business and the wider society. It is committed to collaborating with others to identify new approaches to sustainably manage and communicate its impacts on nature.”

This forms the beginning of a new programme of work by the NCIG, focusing on soil, water and biodiversity, which will create a community of practice around critical challenges and identify solutions that can be implemented by business.   

About the Natural Capital Impact Group

The Natural Capital Impact Group is a global network of companies, working collaboratively, to determine how business can sustain the natural world and its resources through its strategies and operating practices.

The Group, convened by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, is composed of progressive companies, including market leaders and household names, with significant land footprints and dependencies upon natural capital. With our support members co-develop, deploy and embed innovative and enterprising approaches to protecting soil, water and biodiversity in their businesses. In this way companies can enhance the natural environment and create access new market opportunities, generate competitive differentiation and manage risks. The Group aims to influence its industry peers through the example of business practice, drawing on research-informed knowledge, processes and tools. Through its engagement with governments and the financial system, the Group seeks to create the economic conditions necessary for these practices to achieve scaleable action.

About the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) brings together business, government and academia to find solutions to critical sustainability challenges. CISL provides the secretariat to the Natural Capital Impact Group. Decisions of Group do not necessarily represent the policies or positions of CISL or of the wider University of Cambridge.

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Gemma Cranston

Dr Gemma Cranston, Director, Natural Capital

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