Five questions for this month’s World Forum on Natural Capital

Man-Asking-Question
By ICAS Sustainability Committee

6 November 2015

The second World Forum on Natural Capital will take place in Edinburgh on 23 and 24 November 2015. The ICAS Sustainability Committee outlines the five questions it would like answered at this important event.

The inaugural World Forum in 2013 saw 500 delegates from 35 countries, which included business leaders, government representatives and environmental experts, come together to help turn the debate on Natural Capital into action.

Natural Capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets (such as geology, soil, air, water and all living things). As with financial capital, when we draw down too much stock from our natural environment we run up a debt which needs to be paid back. And if we keep drawing down stocks of Natural Capital without repairing or replacing them, there is a risk that these stocks will not be available for future generations.

Reflecting on the previous World Forum, the ICAS Sustainability Committee has compiled a list of questions that we would like to see answered during the 2015 Forum.

Question 1

Has there been any increase in the application of Natural Capital principles since the last Forum two years ago and has a recognised methodology for the valuation of Natural Capital Assets been developed?

There is a need for a consistent and comparable approach to the valuation of Natural Capital Assets.  We are aware that an Exposure Draft of the Natural Capital Protocol’s Standardised Framework for Business is about to be issued, which is intended to enable business to measure and manage their impact on Natural Capital. However, are there any other existing examples of good practice currently being used?

Question 2

How many more Natural Capital projects have been undertaken and completed since the last World Forum in 2013, to add to the literature of business learnings?

Do these projects get the profile and exposure that they deserve? Such projects demonstrate emerging practice in this area and could provide useful examples for others to follow and encourage more organisations to consider how their own activities impact the natural environment.

Question 3

To what extent has the World Forum reached a greater business audience this year?

The Forum has been successful in attracting those participants who already acknowledge the importance of incorporating Natural Capital decisions in their activities. But has it achieved a similar level of success in attracting a new audience, in particular, from those representing business?

Question 4

What can the World Forum do to convey the importance of Natural Capital as a business issue beyond those who are already persuaded?

What key messages from the World Forum on Natural Capital, and the idea of attributing a value to our Natural Capital Assets, should be delivered to the business community and how can these be conveyed in a language that resonates with business representatives?

Question 5

The clock is ticking. As we develop a methodology for valuing Natural Capital Assets will there also be a need for regulatory support and additional funding to help companies protect these Assets?

What key messages from the 2015 World Forum on Natural Capital can be delivered to the business community? How can the idea of attributing a value to our Natural Capital Assets be conveyed in a language that resonates with business representatives?

Find out more

If you have any other Natural Capital questions for the World Forum on Natural Capital why not get in touch with the ICAS Sustainability Committee at aadrain@icas.com and we will publish a summary on how the World Forum tackled these issues, and your questions, in early December.

Topics

  • Sustainability
  • Committees and boards

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