The Capitals Coalition and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative recently published new guidance, aiming to enable businesses and financial institutions to better value biodiversity in their decision-making processes. The guidance is the latest in a growing suite of complementary guides for the Natural Capital Protocol.

What is the Natural Capital Protcol?

The Natural Capital Protocol (NCP) is a decision-making framework that allows organisations to identify, measure and value their direct, and indirect, impacts and dependencies on natural capital. 

In addition to the main framework, a number of companion sector guides and supplements have been published to complement decision-making processes. Sector guides include Forest Products, Apparel, and Food & Drink, whilst Biodiversity is the most recent supplement, published in September 2020. Unlike the Protocol’s sector guides, the supplements are not intended to be sector specific, rather they focus on particular areas of relevance that cross multiple sectors.

Why focus on biodiversity?

Biodiversity is a term used to describe all the variety of life. The NCP supplement for biodiversity is sadly a very timely publication. A series of reports have indicated the scale of crisis biodiversity is currently facing. A 2019 UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report found around one million plant and animal species to be facing extinction. Last month a report from the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity confirmed that not a single Aichi target was fully met over the last 10 years. A State of Nature report has also outlined worrying trends faced by biodiversity in Scotland, including a 49% decline in the studied species. 

In tandem with a growing sense of the scale of crisis faced by biodiversity, is an increased recognition of its interconnection with the climate crisis. Protecting and enhancing biodiversity can build resilience against climate change, and fundamentally underpins human societies and global economy, supporting communities and livelihoods. Biodiversity loss as a driver of emerging infectious disease, has also been tragically emphasised by the current Covid 19 pandemic.

Biodiversity and natural capital