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It’s so important that we all speak a common language as we measure the benefits of nature. To this end, experts in natural capital accounting around the world continue to work toward the global harmonisation and standardisation of approaches.

We’re always excited to be involved in this continuing evolution.

Late last year, the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA) led a series of workshops on corporate natural capital accounting (CNCA) with accounting professionals from the Atlantic and Asia Pacific geographic regions.

Building on the Capitals Coalition publication, Time to Take Stock, organisations including IDEEA Group, ERM, eftec, and the Biodiversity Footprint Company presented at the workshops, raising awareness and understanding of CNCA among the GAA and its member bodies.

The workshops identified a range of opportunities to advance CNCA, including:

  • Establishing a more unified understanding of CNCA, rather than the range of interpretations that exist at present.
  • Presenting compelling business cases for CNCA including how:
  1. it improves business applications including supply chain management, return on investment analysis, reporting and risk analysis with, among other items, integrated datasets
  2. accountants can benefit from implementing CNCA.
  • Defining clear roles for accountants within the broad range of experts needed for CNCA including ecologists and economists.
  • Describing iterative development processes that show how professionals around the world can progressively implement the standardisations described in Time to Take Stock.

The workshops highlighted a range of challenges, including building internal corporate capacity; establishing consistent terminology; understanding the interplay between public and private natural capital accounting; reducing the cost of information supply and determining the information technology requirements.

But also recognised the opportunities to address these challenges. Thus, GAA could:

  • raise awareness of CNCA across the accounting profession
  • advance thought leadership pieces and efforts that shape the field
  • build capacity in corporate use of CNCA
  • build training and certification programs
  • develop partnership within GAA’s existing networks
  • support standards development.

Cover of the report titled Corporate natural capital accounting exploratory workshopsThe workshop report notes:

“The accounting profession has demonstrated its capacity to design and implement rigorous, coherent and detailed information management solutions for financial data. This has supported global harmonization of many management practices and investment approaches. The development of CNCA provides an additional opportunity for the accounting community to apply its unique perspective and skill sets to the integration of data on natural capital into business and financial decision making. As such, the GAA and its member bodies are well positioned to advance leadership in this space.”

You can read the full report here.