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Natural capital: How can companies sustain the natural world through their operating practices?

Current upward trends for consumption, population and economic growth across the globe are placing enormous pressure on natural resources, including water, biodiversity, soil and carbon, and the resulting impact on the environment looks set to increase at an alarming rate. This creates long-term risks to business, consumers and wider society who depend on the Earth's natural resource base. Through its Natural Capital portfolio, CISL is providing the structured path that businesses need to identify sustainability solutions and create momentum at scale.

Natural Capital Impact Group

A global network of companies, convened by CISL, working collaboratively to determine how business can sustain the natural world and its resources through its strategies and operating practices.

Natural Capital Protocol

CISL is a key partner in helping the Natural Capital Coalition to deliver the Natural Capital Protocol, which provides a standardised framework for businesses to identify, measure and value their direct and indirect impacts and dependencies on natural capital.

The Nexus Network

A three-year initiative to foster debate, innovative research and practical collaborations across the linked ‘nexus’ domains of food, energy, water and the environment.

 

Featured

Nexus2020: The most important research questions for business sustainability

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This business-focused synthesis report, 'Nexus2020: The most important research questions for business sustainability' shows the importance of collaboration between businesses and academics to ensure that academic research is informed by business and enables more rapid progress towards sustainability. It builds upon a CISL-led academic paper published in the scientific journal Sustainability Science in October 2016.

The report was produced by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), as part of the Nexus Network project, a three-year initiative funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and co-ordinated by a team from the University of Sussex, University of East Anglia and University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership to foster debate, innovative research and practical collaborations across the linked ‘nexus’ domains of food, energy, water and the environment.

 

 

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Thought leadership

Modelling better business: Nestlé trials natural capital premium with UK dairy farmers

February 2018 – In the first in a series of ‘Modelling better business’ case studies, the Natural Capital Impact Group (NCIG) showcase its work with Nestlé to protect natural capital through an innovative scheme which provides dairy farmers with a price premium for taking practical measures to enhance the natural environment.

Modelling better business: Nestlé trials natural capital premium with UK dairy farmers - Read More…

The inescapable truth: Brexit, business and natural capital

December 2017 – Brexit requires the United Kingdom to develop its own policy towards agriculture and rural land to replace the Common Agricultural Policy. This working paper outlines how future policies have the potential to protect and improve natural capital in order for UK businesses to remain competitive and resilient.

The inescapable truth: Brexit, business and natural capital - Read More…

Rewiring the Economy: Ten tasks, ten years

July 2015, Updated November 2017 – Rewiring the Economy is CISL’s ten-year plan to lay the foundations for a sustainable economy. It is built on ten interconnected tasks, delivered by leaders across business, government and finance. Rewiring shows how these tasks can be tackled co-operatively to build an economy that encourages sustainable business practices, delivering the social and environmental progress demanded by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Rewiring the Economy: Ten tasks, ten years - Read More…

Soil health: Evidence review

July 2017 – Many leading food and beverage sector organisations have demonstrated progress in managing natural capital impacts in their direct operations, including greenhouse gas emissions and waste. Many recognise, however, that the largest impacts occur in their upstream value chains, particularly on farms where raw materials are produced. A key natural capital resource is soil, and managing soil health is one way in which businesses may be able to reduce their negative land use impacts.

Soil health: Evidence review - Read More…

The commercial logic to measuring natural capital

June 2017 – The launch of the Natural Capital Protocol has led businesses to become more aware of their impacts and dependencies upon the natural environment. However, a need has been identified to link to commercial drivers to these impacts and dependencies across businesses. Simple metrics and key performance indicators that relate these two could be a next step to embedding natural capital into business operations and strategies. This working paper sets out the outcomes of a small piece of qualitative research. It explores the use of different metrics for standard business processes by sustainability professionals and their relationship to natural capital measures.

The commercial logic to measuring natural capital - Read More…