Taking Stock of Natural Capital Accounting in the UK

A beautiful spring scene of the Lake District fells, fields, and trees.


We are delighted to have had the opportunity to take stock of our experience with natural capital accounting in the UK over the last five or so years. The briefing note we prepared for COWI is now available to all and can be accessed here.

The briefing summarises the key lessons we have learnt from the development of the Corporate Natural Capital Accounting framework (2015) and the Natural Capital Protocol (2016), to over 60 accounts we have completed since then and our involvement in the upcoming British Standards Institution’s standard on the approach. The completed accounts range from national and sub-national accounts for the public sector and organizational accounts for businesses in water, agriculture, forestry, energy, finance, transport, and chemicals sectors.

Key takeaways from the briefing

The briefing identifies the influence of public policies and institutions (such as ONS, Defra, and HM Treasury) in incentivising, adopting, and promoting natural capital accounting and the leadership of individual champions and trusted sector advisers in ensuring accounts are integrated into the wider decision-making of their clients. So far, accounts have been used to make business cases for public and charitable sector funding and to unveil the importance of natural capital assets for the financial sustainability of businesses.

Looking to the future, our briefing encourages readers to familiarise themselves with the upcoming BSI Standard on Natural Capital Accounting for Organisations when it is released in May 2021 – followed by a launch webinar on 15th June at 2-3:30 pm (Hold the date for now, links will follow). In the longer term, we anticipate a closer integration of natural capital and financial accounting, the development of auditing or second opinion services, and the use of natural capital accounting as a monitoring and evaluation tool for green finance.

To download the briefing, click here.

Image: Rob Fraser | somewhere-nowhere.com

April 2021