In December 2022, the United States and Australia announced that they will embark on a joint approach to natural capital accounting using the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA).
The SEEA is the accepted international standard for environmental-economic accounting.
It provides a framework for explaining the relationship between the environment and the economy.
The UN developed the framework so that it works with standard economic and financial accounts.
Using the SEEA, countries and organisations can:
- organise data about ecosystems
- measure ecosystem services, like the way that an ecosystem cleans the air and filters our water
- track changes in ecosystem assets, like the degradation of native forests
- link data and information to economic and other human activity
- manage environmental risk
- improve decision making.
The Central Framework of the SEEA was developed in 2012. It is developed and managed by the United Nations, the European Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group.
IDEEA Group Directors, Carl Obst (Lead Editor) and Mark Eigenraam, were instrumental in the development of the SEEA and continue to play an ongoing advisory role to the UN. This puts us in an extremely strong position to apply the SEEA for our clients according to their organisational and environmental context.
The SEEA principles are now recognised as the world’s most cost-effective, actionable approach to natural capital accounting.
As of 2021, 90 countries have compiled SEEA accounts. Many more countries are planning to compile accounts using this standard.
Australia and the USA announced their agreement at COP15 in Montreal in December 2022. You can read the agreement here.
This is a game changer for business and government in the USA and Australia. It sets the direction for the future, making the rules clearer and establishing greater certainty for emerging markets. It can also put an end to greenwashing. Once everyone knows which set of rules applies, the ability to apply the rules increases, as does identifying organisations that break them.
Would you like to learn more?
Visit the SEEA site.