Implicitly, an integrated capitals approach has underpinned the work we have done as natural capital accountants.
There are four capitals:
- Natural capital – the environment, its physical and biological resources.
- Human capital – the knowledge, skills and attributes of individuals.
- Social capital – the networks, institutions and values that unite us.
- Produced capital – everything that is manufactured for ongoing use, including buildings, equipment, finance and software.
These capitals are integrated because human, social and produced (or built) capital cannot exist without natural capital, and also human and social capital are critical pathways to ensuring natural capital is protected into the future.
The Capitals Coalition, of which we are a member, is leading a program to integrate the four capitals, helping to create a practical pathway to apply systems thinking. The new report, Towards a new economic paradigm, says:
‘To reduce unsustainable impacts on the capitals and secure a flow of value from those that businesses are dependent on, organizations must understand the consequences of their decision-making across the capitals.’
Taking an integrated capitals approach is essential to help businesses and organisations:
- assess their true impacts and dependencies
- make sustainable decisions
- value nature, people and society alongside economic success.
If you’d like to know more about the kind of work we do in the integrated capitals space, please see these case studies:
- The TEEBAgriFood Evaluation Framework – A global project, designed to help AgriFood organisations adopt a more holistic, integrated approach to planning, managing and reporting on their role in a sustainable food chain.
- Integrated Catchment Management Evaluation Framework – A project for the Victorian Government Department of Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) helping to integrate the four capitals using an evaluation framework.