Humberto Delgado Rossa, Director Natural Capital, European Commission DG Environment.
Modern enterprises, companies and investors have only just begun to recognise the competitive advantage that comes with a full understanding of their impacts and dependencies on nature.
We are hitting planetary boundaries, with potentially catastrophic consequences for societies and economies, and shareholders and boards are taking notice and seeking innovative solutions. There is a growing perception that natural capital thinking provides an indispensable tool for understanding and valuing one’s dependence on nature and ecosystem services, and that it can be an effective framework to translate this information into an understanding of financial and organizational risk and opportunity.
However, making natural capital mainstream requires increased cooperation and networks to accelerate momentum at national, international and organizational levels. Through its instruments for international cooperation, the EU supports the UN Statistics Division and UNEP to develop national ecosystem accounts, and is cooperating with Asian, Latin-American and African partner countries in engaging business with the Natural Capital Protocol. We are also engaging in EU-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) regional dialogues on natural capital.
Domestically the EU is active in mapping and assessing ecosystems services (MAES programme) and the Commission has adopted a package of measures to implement its action plan on sustainable finance. This autumn the EU Horizon2020 research programme is launching coordination and support actions to build and develop new networks on integrating natural capital in policies and business decision making, in which the Natural Capital Coalition is involved. Additionally, the EU Business and Biodiversity Platform (EU B@B) is running a community of practice with financial institutions to integrate biodiversity and natural capital into mainstream financial activities, and contributes to the development and application of biodiversity metrics for business.
If we are to achieve inclusive and sustainable economies and societies, the consideration of our relationship with nature in all decisions must become the new normal. The EU will continue to engage with evermore businesses and governments in achieving this goal.
Read the full report here.