Anne Miller

Dr Anne Miller

Associate Director - Research

Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network


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Natural Capital/ Ecosystem Services/ Biodiversity offsetting: what on earth are they about?


ESKTN are running a Natural Capital workshop in London on 13th March,  on behalf of the research community, in order to foster dialogue and encourage more businesses to think about their exposure to risk...from nature!


Admittedly the language is pretty off-putting, but the threats to business continuity are increasingly being recognised since we depend on nature to supply many of the raw materials and services that allow us to keep production levels increasing globally, and the costs of these keep on rising.


A number of major multinationals worked this out some time ago but we need to get the message out to smaller and medium sized businesses, that there are bottom-line benefits in building nature into your business planning and risk-management processes.


We will be lining up top speakers to explain what ecosystem valuation means, what natural capital is and to explore how can business benefit from getting to grips with biodiversity. 


I am also posting below some links to various recent publications in this area, which I hope will help to inform discussion and participation.


First of all there are supporting documents on  biodiversity offsetting (yes, it really does exist, and we will be hearing more about it from government as well as other businesses).


UPM, the forestry company, offers an example of a well-developed biodiversity strategy, having been a signatory to the UN's Leadership Declaration as part of a "Business and Biodiversity Initiative"  :


There are also business case-studies available from PepsiCo, M&S, Puma, The Co-op, InterfaceFlor and Wilmott Dixon, published recently by the Aldersgate Group.

Puma have recently published their first Environmental Profit and Loss Account- more here


Flora and Fauna International and others supported the Natural Value Initiative in publishing  "Tread lightly: Biodiversity and ecosystem services risk and opportunity management  within the extractive industry". It presents case studies but also an excellent summary of the investment industry's interest in this area, and a clear glossary of the jargon!

This follows on from their earlier ecosystems services benchmarking tool:


WBCSD has produced several relevant publications including guidelines for Corporate Ecosystem Valuation published in 2011

and a new training programme on the links between business and ecosystems:

Together with the Meridien Institute and the World Resources Institute they have just published an updated version of their corporate ecosystem services review guidance:


The Global Reporting Initiative has recently proposed their approach for organizations to examine ecosystems as “service providers”:


UNEP and the International Water Management Institute have recently produced a synthesis report on An Ecosystem Services Approach to Water and Food Security



Finally there is the UN's TEEB reports (The Economics Of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) including TEEB for Business available here:


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