Taking Natural Capital & World Climate on Board

The cost of doing business typically does not include the externalised costs – costs of discharge into local waterways, loss of natural systems – in short, the cost of natural capital. To create a sustainable economy, externalities have to be internalised. This is the focus of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity – TEEB – for Business Coalition, formed in Singapore where it will have its global headquarters. And to keep a business focus in Doha, the World Climate Summit will show what business is doing – and can do more of – to develop a sustainable future. Read more

The Business Case for Ecosystems and Biodiversity

By Andrew Burger in Triple Pundit (13 November 2012):

Business and biodiversity haven’t mixed well, historically. The confluence of several significant trends—population growth, natural resource and materials scarcity, ongoing ecosystems services degradation, loss of biodiversity and climate change, among them—has business leaders increasingly focused on sustainability not just in economic, but in ecological and social terms as well.

The key to such efforts is internalizing economic externalities in market prices, business costs, planning and accounting. The concept of natural capital, in turn, is seen as a key for businesses to incorporate and place a fair value on the public and access goods, such as clean air, water and other ecosystems services. It is also a way for both businesses and nations to economically value and account for the depletion of natural resource stocks and the impacts of pollution, as well as degradation of ecosystems and the services they provide.

Illustrating these points was an international event in Singapore on Nov. 7, in which business, government and non-government organization leaders gathered to officially launch TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) for Business Coalition Headquarters, the aims of which are “to achieve a shift in corporate behavior to preserve and enhance, rather than deplete, the earth’s natural capital,” according to a press release.

Valuing and Accounting for Natural Capital

The founding members of the new TEEB for Business Coalition have been driving forward the international development of natural capital valuation and accounting, an effort which brings together science, industry and commerce. They’ve also been active globally in advocating for and promoting adoption in business and government. They now believe they have “a credible platform to take the business application of this forward.”

“The Coalition brings together global stakeholders to study and standardize methods for natural capital accounting to enable its valuation and reporting in business. This is the business application of the G8+5 and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) supported TEEB programme, led by Pavan Sukhdev, which provides a compelling economic case for the conservation of natural capital and is a cornerstone of the Green Economy,” TEEB explains in its press release.

Affording societies a basis for building and sustaining economic and social capital, maintaining healthy ecosystems and fair, equitable access to natural resources and ecosystems services and the benefits derived from them, are fundamental precepts for conceptual frameworks for sustainable business and development, as well as for intergovernmental treaties, such as the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The problem is that their degradation and depletion are not valued or accounted for in business or national income accounts—they’re considered “externalities.”

The failure of business and government leaders to account for ongoing loss of biodiversity, degradation of ecosystems and depletion of natural resources is putting businesses and societies at risk, TEEB members emphasize.

“The invisibility of corporate externalities is a root cause of many errors of judgement across economics, ecology and governance,” elaborated Pavan Sukhdev, Study Leader of TEEB, and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador. “Solving this complex problem is a crucial challenge for sustainability, and it will need global collaboration and research expertise of significant scale. I am therefore delighted that so many leading global institutions, who are represented in this Coalition, are combining forces to address this challenge.”

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has been a leader in formation of the TEEB for Business Coalition, hosting the new coalition during its setup phase. Standing up for the accounting profession and the role accountants can play in driving forward widespread, mainstream adoption of natural capital valuation and accounting, ICAEW chief executive Michael Izza stated,

“At Rio+20 we heard that it is accountants that will save the world. I believe it will not just be through the strategic vision and leadership of Chartered Accountants in business and public life worldwide, but also through the discipline accountancy can bring to the issues of valuation and quantification.”

Source: www.teebforbusiness.org and www.triplepundit.com


And World Climate Summit

15 November 2012:

Business leaders join forces to discuss sustainability

World Climate Summit is ‘perfect forum’ to discuss sustainability

Now is the time for business leaders to make their commitment to the environment, according to the director of a climate organisation.

Michael Mathres, founder of the World Climate Summit, which takes place during COP18/CMP8, believes that the event is the perfect opportunity for bosses in Qatar and the rest of the world to think about sustainable options for the future.

He said: “From a local perspective, we will be looking at what sort of projects could be developed in Doha and Qatar in terms of renewable energy and the huge constructions which are currently going on. So, for example, how can we make sure that all of the buildings and infrastructure being put in place between now and the World Cup is energy efficient and sustainable? If we help to do that, it will be a big achievement.

“It is the right time to do it now because we are at the beginning of these projects. If they are started in the right way Qatar can say, ‘Look we are developing our infrastructure in a sustainable way’. And if Qatar can do it, they can be an example to other Middle East countries that it is possible to grow in a sustainable way.”

Mr. Mathres set up the World Climate Summit three years ago with partner Jens Nielsen. It strives to be a neutral platform which brings together business leaders, financers and governments to discuss solutions to climate change, which can be implemented and developed throughout the world.

He said: “We are providing a platform for these three stakeholders to discuss and work together to develop initiatives and changes.”

Between 400 and 500 people from around the world are expected to attend the summit, which will take place on December 1 and 2. Among them will be delegates from international companies such as Siemens and Philips, who will talk about some of the solutions that they can provide for projects in energy, lighting and infrastructure. There will also be finance representatives from the public and private sector, such as the World Bank International Finance Corporation, the Bank of America and the European Investment Bank, which is one of this year’s sponsors.

Mr Mathres said: “There is a strong finance component to the summit as the majority of the programmes are on a huge scale, with multi-million sometimes multi-billion dollar projects implemented within cities, regions or countries.”

Government ministers from Qatar and the rest of the world will also attend the event, along with mayors of cities who are responsible for implementing changes.

The World Climate Summit 2012 is part of a 10-year process, which began in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010. Mr Mathres said: “It is a new concept and it is a long process of education to make people understand that climate change is not just a political thing. Finding solutions should not be purely a ‘top down’ process. It is also a ‘bottom up’ process because companies and regional governments have the solutions.”

Over the past two years 20 initiatives have been introduced as a result of the World Climate Summit. They include projects such as a lighting efficiency programme, which Philips implemented with various cities around the world. Using efficient LED lighting helped to cut costs and carbon emissions in cities, some of which use 20 per cent of their energy consumption on lighting.

Mr. Mathres is keen that as many local people as possible are involved in the summit. He said: “This is something which is beneficial for the Qatari economy and I would like to invite as many Qatari businesses and financers to understand the solutions that exist and the business they can do with the companies we are bringing. We have all of these extraordinary people coming to Doha to build new projects. It’s an open invitation.”

Source: www.worldclimatesummit.org

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