The NCD, a finance-led initiative committing banks, investors and insurers to integrating natural capital considerations in financial products and services, was launched at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012.
Earlier this week, the NCD announced the start of a new ‘Roadmap’ phase, which aims to turn these commitments into reality through a programme of work by four working groups, each led by a bank.
The Declaration now has 43 signatories from the finance sector and 19 non-financial stakeholders supporting the initiative. Dutch development bank FMO and Florida-based First Green Bank are the latest signatories to the NCD.
Nanno Kleiterp, CEO of FMO, said: “I believe the financial sector has a vital role to play to enable the transition towards natural and social capital accounting. At FMO we are working hard to make this a reality.”
Ken LaRoe, CEO of First Green Bank, said: “We are passionately dedicated to our mission of helping to show people there is a better way to do business which is financially, environmentally, and socially responsible, and the Natural Capital Declaration provides an awesome opportunity to contribute as global change agents.”
As the implementation of the NCD gets underway, a project manager, Liesel van Ast, has also been appointed. Van Ast was formerly Senior Analyst with Trucost, one of the new supporters of the NCD.
Lauren Smart, Executive Director of Trucost, said: “Trucost has joined the NCD because, as environmental economists, we firmly believe that quantifying natural capital risk in monetary terms will help financial institutions to integrate natural capital risk analysis in their traditional holding and fund-level analysis.”
Trucost’s research for the TEEB for Business Coalition, Natural Capital at Risk: The Top 100 Externalities of Business, found that the natural capital impacts of the world’s largest companies are costing the global economy around $7.3 trillion per year, representing a systemic financial risk larger than that faced during the global financial crisis which wiped $5.4 trillion off the value of OECD pension funds in 2008.
Through the NCD commitment to putting natural capital on the balance sheet, financial institutions will address this challenge and build a broader understanding of the emerging natural capital risks and opportunities in bond and equity markets, insurance and lending.
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