This article was originally published on Alternative Perspectives.

“…Leading Tata companies such as Tata Power, Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, Tata Motors and Tata Coffee have applied the Natural Capital Protocol to assess and value Natural Capital. The initial outcome has been encouraging. Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals were able to get insights to prioritise their focus to greenhouse gas emission management and fresh water usage.  Tata Power applied the Natural Capital Protocol to its Hydro power business to understand total impact of a hydro plant which it plans to use for appraisal of future projects. Tata Motors took a call of assessing impact of their main products namely, passenger and commercial cars in order to play with product portfolio going forward.  Perhaps, the most exciting outcome of the exercise was from Tata Coffee which showed net positive environment impact courtesy, the large coffee plantation it owns. Tata Coffee is contemplating to use this information in creating a differentiator in a crowded market place where certification is no longer good enough.

Not everything has been rosy while undertaking natural capital valuation. First, allocation of societal impacts of environment drivers such as land use change, solid waste and biodiversity has been difficult. Second, we had to resort to value transfer techniques in absence of primary impact study of many environmental drivers for Indian context. Third, lack of knowledge regarding dependencies and its interaction between finite resources and their true value and lastly, socialising the concept itself! Most of the  concerns are being addressed by working with subject matter experts to develop valuation coefficients for local context, creating common understanding around environmental impact pathways, valuation techniques through capacity building workshops and resorting to sensitivity analysis  wherever the precise information are unavailable. Our learning also suggests we have to be very thorough with our assumptions to battle any skepticism around the subject…”

Read on at: Alternative Perspectives.