Companies fail to account for natural environment capital

Governments and companies must do more to account for their impact and dependence on the natural environment, according to a new study from the University of East Anglia.

New research published in the journal Nature Climate Change reveals that although some companies like Puma and Gucci are leading the way, more needs to be done to foster a sustainable green economy.

Researchers say that while the economic value of lost natural resources can be difficult to quantify, much more must be done to make sure that it is.

According to Click Green’s report lead author Matthew Agarwala from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, said: “When we talk about ‘natural capital’, what we mean is the elements of nature that produce value to people – such as ecosystems, plant and animal species, freshwater, land minerals, the air and oceans, as well as natural processes such as climate regulation.

“The value of this natural capital is largely excluded from both GDP and corporate accounting. It is assumed that these natural resources are ‘free’ – but using them has an impact on the natural world and future living standards.

“This impact is too vast to be left off the balance sheets.”

He added: “The World Bank has estimated the value of natural capital to be at least US$40.2 trillion. That’s around half of gross world product, 1.6 times the combined assets of the world’s 10 biggest banks, and would have paid for the Apollo Space Programme more than 300 times.

“Companies and governments around the world need to account for their economic dependence and impact on the natural world to promote sustainability and combat climate change.”

Michael Bennett of specialist environmental PR and communications consultancy Pelican said: “Without leadership from major international companies there will be no change in the way we value the natural resources that make our lives and the lives of future generations possible.”

Pelican Communications are specialists in the environmentfood and drinkoutdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people developmentContact us for marketing and communications expertise.