Trucost Blog / 17 Mar 2014

Valuing natural capital: Hot topics at GreenBiz, Economist’s Ocean Summit, CDP

Insights from the annual GreenBiz & Trucost ‘State of Green Business’ report include shadow pricing becoming a top trend.

At the recent GreenBiz forum held in Phoenix, AZ and the Economist’s Ocean Summit in Half Moon Bay, CA in February debate focused on valuing natural capital in business decision-making.  Then again this week in New York at CDP’s North American meeting, a discussion on valuing carbon took center stage.

Trucost was invited to speak at GreenBiz and the Economist’s event and participated in the discussion at the CDP meeting; in case you were unable to attend we share some highlights below:

  • GreenBiz Forum offered insights from the annual ‘State of Green Business’ report, where shadow pricing was noted as a top trend.  Also debuted was the Natural Capital Leaders Index, which recognizes companies that are truly ‘moving the sustainability needle’ by growing revenue while reducing natural capital impact, such as Verizon, Kimberly Clark, Becton Dickinson, Mosaic, PG&E and others
  • Shell, Akamai Technologies, MWV, Ecolab and Tata Consultancy discussed how they consider the value of nature in their business models. Shell explained that they have been incorporating natural capital metrics into their scenario planning for decades; it’s just the name that’s changed, ‘Natural Capital’.
  • At both the GreenBiz Forum and Economist event, the Natural Capital Coalition (formally TEEB for Business Coalition) described their vision of a multi stakeholder, harmonized framework for valuing natural capital is already underway (pilot testing begins in late 2014, focusing on food, beverage and apparel sector companies).
  • At the Economist event research from McKinsey Company suggested that the value of the ocean’s natural capital to business exceeds $3T; Trucost introduced a framework that will be launched by the Plastics Disclosure Project later this month for valuing and managing natural capital in the plastics value chain.
  • Microsoft, American Electric Power, and the International Finance Corporation shared their approaches to shadow carbon pricing and noted the benefits of assigning a price to carbon include better employee engagement and creating momentum for sustainability projects and programs that have a high carbon ROI.
  • CDP shared how the quest for companies’ reporting has moved beyond water and carbon, to a broader set of natural capital metrics. Will 2014 be the year your company takes this valuable step?

Further Information

How can companies benefit from a new era of sustainability metrics?

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