'Natural capital' is an economic metaphor for the limited stocks of physical and biological resources found on Earth, and the limited capacity of ecosystems to provide ecosystem services (i.e. the direct and indirect contributions of ecosystems to human well-being).
The Natural Capital Leaders Platform convenes companies with significant environmental impacts and dependencies who are taking action to review, value, redesign strategies, set targets and report on natural capital use. The goal of the companies is to reflect the external costs incurred in product lifecycles onto their balance sheets and to communicate these to society.
Through engagement with policymakers and collaborative working groups, members aim to:
- Identify impact and reliance on key ecosystem services such as climate stability, soil health, fresh water and biodiversity;
- Place a financial value on these services that reflects their true cost to society (in lieu of effective pricing signals from policy and regulatory frameworks); and
- Manage their demands on these services thoughtfully like other forms of asset, moving from a culture of doing less harm to the natural world to contributing positively to its renewal.
The Platform is facilitated by senior academics and experts from the University of Cambridge, and other institutions, to help business leaders understand how to integrate valuing natural capital into their strategies and create new opportunities for growth.
The Platform offers an exciting portfolio of business collaborations, practical reports, tools and outputs to help address critical issues defined by business in order to inform their strategies and feed into the Platform’s policy agenda.
Read more about our current work.
4 April 2013: Sustainable Water Stewardship: Innovation through Collaboration Report Launch
The Sustainable Water Stewardship: Innovation through Collaboration report has been launched, recommending the next steps for business and government to better manage water resources. This report, sponsored by Anglian Water, is the culmination of this phase of our collaboratory which brought together forward-thinking organisations, government and communities to explore better ways of managing and valuing water by pioneering and exploring innovative approaches.
The next phase of this work will continue to develop innovative thinking, focusing on addressing the risks of flood and drought arising from changing weather patterns and increasing demand for water. We invite businesses to become a part of shaping this new development. Please contact Dr Gemma Cranston for more information.
Download Sustainable Water Stewardship: Innovation through Collaboration.
5 March 2013: UK Government’s Ecosystem Markets Task Force (EMTF)
Led by Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of retail group Kingfisher plc, one of the lead Natural Capital Leaders Platform partners, and with the involvement of companies such as Unilever and Jaguar Land Rover, the Ecosystem Markets Task Force (EMTF) has reviewed the opportunities available to UK business that could help them develop green goods, services, investment vehicles and markets which value and protect nature.
Martin Roberts, Director of the Natural Capital Leaders Platform, was invited to join the Ecosystems Market Task Force to provide a unique perspective from academic and business collaborations.
Read more on the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) website.
Ecosystem Markets Task Force Video: A New Lens for Business; A New Economy
February and March 2013: New Collaboratories Launched
The Natural Capital Leaders Platform is launching three exciting new collaboratories in February and March to continue its leading work helping global businesses to address the challenges of properly valuing and maintaining the Earth’s natural capital. The collaboratories are designed to enact the four business commitments outlined in the ground-breaking Natural Capital Leadership Compact.
6 December 2012: Pooling Innovation: New Approaches to Water Stewardship
Over 100 experts and thought leaders from business, academia and government met at the Pooling Innovation: New Approaches to Water Stewardship event in early December 2012 to discuss innovative ways to address the challenges of sustainable water management. The event, chaired by Lord Selborne, Treasurer, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Water, stimulated the dialogue around what leadership in water stewardship the public and private sectors can offer.
10 September 2012: Natural Convergence Report Launch
The 'Natural Convergence' report, the culmination of the UK Dairy and Timber land-use collaboratories, was launched by Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon, Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher plc. and Paul Kelly, Corporate Affairs Director ASDA Stores Ltd on 10 September 2012 at the Royal Society in London.
Read more about our current work.
"The greatest challenges are in reducing the impact of our complex value chains, helping farmers to make agricultural production more efficient while preserving the natural capital that delivers the ecosystem services we all rely on...In CPSL we have found a network of like‐minded companies and thought leaders through which we are committed to contribute to this defining challenge of the 21st century."
José Lopez, Executive Vice President, Nestlé
Leading businesses are increasingly aware of the material risk posed by pressures on natural capital and realise that they can no longer take for granted the essential goods and services it provides. For companies depending directly on natural resources the risks are clear. Those indirectly reliant may also be exposed to social risk, for instance from political tensions and social unrest, exacerbated by resource scarcity and increased volatility in the price of food and other commodities. Such risk can affect their wider employee and supply chain base. Action by individual businesses is vital, but no single company can meet these challenges alone.
The Platform is convened by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) with over twenty years of experience in working with global leaders. Our international reputation for bringing together decision makers and thought leaders ensures that we offer a practical and highly business-relevant portfolio of innovative research projects, collaboratories and partnerships to Platform members. Outputs feed into the Platform’s policy agenda, continually update content and practice, and ensure leading-edge thinking on critical issues.
To discuss how your company can get involved, contact John Pharoah, T: +44 (0) 1223 768844.