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2015 Global Sustainability Summit Blog Series: Natural Capital in Business – From Concept to Practice

August 20, 2015

By: Meghan Stasz, Director, Sustainability

On stage at the FMI-GMA Global Sustainability Summit this afternoon, we have a general session on a concept called “natural capital.” This is a new term to many, but an old concept. The idea is that the natural environment- biodiversity and a stable climate-is an important resource; one that has direct value to businesses in how they operate. One example, on a large scale, is clean water. We all rely on it, businesses and individuals alike, but it can often be hard to really quantify its value on a company’s balance sheet.

The speakers are educating the audience on a tool the Natural Capital Coalition is developing called the Natural Capital Protocol. It’s a framework for businesses to measure and quantify impacts and dependence on natural capital. We know that in business there’s the old adage, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” and that is especially true here. These terrific speakers are using their experience, successes, and learning experiences to help other sustainability practitioners in the audience understand the tools available to identify risks and opportunities in the supply chain when it comes to assets provided by nature.

The experts represent a range of organizations- the World Wildlife Fund, a leading environmental NGO, a company called TruCost that identifies environmental risks and opportunities across companies’ operations, and the Coca-Cola Company- an industry leader in water efficiency worldwide.

One of the best things about the Global Sustainability Summit is providing the food, beverage, consumer goods, and retail industries the opportunity to learn from each other. Hearing examples from big global companies like Coca-Cola and data-driven results from companies like TruCost, with the perspective of a global nonprofit is really valuable to everyone in the room.  I’m sure we’ll have another session on this topic next year!


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