Natural Capital Protocol for business launched

13th July 2016

A new protocol is being launched today (13th July) to help businesses better understand their relationship with natural assets such as rivers, land, minerals and biodiversity.

The Natural Capital Protocol is a new global standardised framework that has been developed by the Natural Capital Coalition, a collaboration of over 200 global businesses and organisations including the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital. The Protocol has been designed to help businesses to identify, measure and value their direct and indirect impacts and dependencies on natural capital, and inform decision making in business.

The Coalition have also launched two sector guides to support the Protocol by providing additional guidance and sector specific business insights. The guides cover the Food & Drink and Clothing sectors. Food & Drink is one of Scotland's most valuable sectors, worth over £14bn to the economy[1].

To support businesses interested in applying the Protocol, the Natural Capital Coalition is also developing a “Protocol Application Program” which will be led by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

The Scottish Forum on Natural Capital worked with its founding partner ICAS (the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland) to gather input to help shape the Protocol during its consultation, which was launched at the World Forum on Natural Capital in Edinburgh in November 2015.

David Wood, Deputy Chair of the Scottish Forum and Executive Director of Technical Policy at ICAS, said:

“Risks directly linked to the management of natural capital such as water crises, climate change, extreme weather events and food crises are now the global risks of highest concern over the next 10 years according to research by the World Economic Forum[2]. The UN predicts a 40% global shortfall in water supply by 2030[3]. Scottish businesses are not isolated from these risks and there is an urgent need for businesses from all sectors to fully account for the impacts and dependencies on natural capital across their operations and ensure they are protecting and enhancing the natural capital on which they rely.”

“The Scottish Forum wants to see the Natural Capital Protocol making natural assets and the services they provide visible to Scotland’s business leaders to help manage risks and improve decision making.”

Jonny Hughes, Chair of the Scottish Forum and Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust who is attending the launch in London, said:

“The Scottish Forum welcomes the launch of the Natural Capital Protocol, the involvement of almost forty organisations in its development and piloting by over 50 companies shows the growing international recognition of the importance of natural capital to business. We congratulate the Natural Capital Coalition for bringing together some of the world’s leading institutions from business, accountancy, consultancy, finance and NGOs to develop the Protocol, we recognise the vital importance of bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders. The Scottish Forum now includes over 70 members from Scotland’s private, public and voluntary sectors.”


Click here to access the Natural Capital Protocol

Click here to find the Natural Capital Protocol Sector Guides

Click here to access the Natural Capital Protocol Primer - A short introduction to the Protocol

Click here to find out more about joining the Protocol Application Program

[1] Growth Sector Briefing - Food & Drink

[2] World Economic Forum Global Risks 2016

[3] United Nations World Water Development Report 2015