This report was produced by National Australia Bank (NAB)


“Natural capital refers to the natural assets on which our economy depends. It includes the natural resources themselves, the physical, biological and chemical systems that support them, and the services they provide – things like clean water, energy, food and fibre, healthy air, climate regulation.

The frame of natural capital is intended to elevate consideration of the economic value of healthy ecosystems into decision-making processes in the same way that financial or human capital are currently taken into account.

There has long been a focus on considering the impact of business activities on the environment and of the public-good benefits provided by ecosystems. However, the natural capital approach asks the question: how important are healthy ecosystems to business? The intention is to better understand the effects and dependencies of natural capital on individuals and businesses.

Ecosystem services operate at differing scales and provide both private economic benefits (to individuals and businesses who rely on ecosystem services as inputs into their production processes) and public benefits (those that are available without restriction to the community as a whole).

As a bank, we have more influence over the private benefits, which is what we are seeking to understand first. Focusing on the private benefits initially at scale.

From a banking perspective, if good management of natural capital – increased soil carbon, steady pH levels, pasture diversity, nutrient recycling and habitat for pollinators and pest predators – can lower the risk of commercial agribusiness enterprise, shouldn’t we be valuing it?

Alternatively, do we have to wait until we’ve depleted our natural systems before we realise just how valuable they are? At NAB, we’re not waiting…”

Read on and access the full report at National Australia Bank.