On World Biodiversity Day, a global network of companies, including Kering, Interserve, Mars and Asda, working together to determine how business can sustain the natural world and its resources, has released the initial stage of their work in developing a metric to help corporates improve their impact on the natural environment. The metric is the result of a unique collaboration between the Natural Capital Impact Group (NCIG) and a global network of investors called the Investment Leaders Group (ILG), with key support from members of the Natural Capital Impact Group.

It brings together a framework developed by the ILG for measuring impact and a methodology developed by NCIG on biodiversity metrics. The framework aims to provide companies and investors with consistent, context based metrics that can support corporate decision-making and demonstrate positive impacts, whilst the methodology incorporates more dynamic, real-time and accurate analysis of ecosystem services.

Company productivity is dependent upon a resilient environment. It therefore makes business sense for investors and companies to demonstrate positive impacts and show they are reversing the trend of natural environment degradation. The challenge is to identify metrics that are relevant for businesses’ decision-making processes, whilst being simple and practical for investors to use.

The metric is based on the impact of a company upon the quality and quantity of biodiversity, soil and water. A working paper published today, Healthy ecosystem metric framework by NCIG, details how this metric is constructed and provides insight into the impacts on biodiversity.

Charlotte Cool, VP Corporate Affairs, Asda said:

“Businesses need simple, understandable metrics to consistently demonstrate their positive impacts to protect the natural environment. We are pleased to support the Natural Capital Impact Group in developing these.”

Dr Gemma Cranston, Director of CISL’s Natural Resource Security Portfolio, said:

“A need has been identified for a single natural capital impact metric which is simple and influential to decision making across corporates and investors. The Natural Capital Impact Group is pleased to share its concept on how this metric can be constructed following input from major companies and investors.”

Dr Helen Crowley, Head of Sustainability Sourcing Innovation, Kering, said:

“We are pleased to support this important initiative and lend our own learnings. While we have pioneered Environmental Profit and Loss Accounting to understand our overall impacts on natural capital, we also see that more is needed to measure and mitigate corporate impacts on biodiversity in particular.  The loss of biodiversity is one of the planetary boundaries that is being exceeded and this new tool will help us implement more biodiversity-friendly approaches to sourcing and our business.”

Adrian Greet, ‎Global Sustainability Programme Director, Mars Incorporated said:

“A new metric to enable companies to measure and demonstrate its impacts on biodiversity will help businesses and investors to embed natural capital into decision-making.”

Mat Roberts, Group Director of Sustainability Strategy, Interserve explained:

“As one of the largest land managers in the UK, Interserve has a deep understanding of the value nature provides for business and the wider society. It is committed to collaborating with others to identify new approaches to sustainably manage and communicate its impacts on nature.”

This forms the beginning of a new programme of work by the NCIG, focusing on soil, water and biodiversity, which will create a community of practice around critical challenges and identify solutions that can be implemented by business.

Read the Healthy ecosystem metric framework.