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Natural capital

Natural capital is a way of thinking about the natural resources on which our economy depends. On this page you can find links to research, guidance and organisations supporting the effective management of natural capital.

What's on this page?

  • Online articles
  • Useful links and reports
  • Articles and books from the Library

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Featured article

Measuring natural capital
Looks at the importance of a natural capital accounting system and explores the role of natural capital within the comprehensive wealth framework.

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Featured link

Natural capital protocol
A framework developed by the Natural Capital Coalition to help businesses make thoughtful decisions about the natural resources they work with.


Accounting for nature
ICAEW events, publications and partners on natural capital initiatives.

Who should value nature?
Paper by Dario Kenner for ICAEW's Sustainable Business Initiative, examining the question of responsibility for the valuation of natural assets.

Quantifying natural and social capital
Paper by Adrian Henriques for ICAEW's Sustainable Business Initiative, looking at the different types of accounting and the ways in which they can incorporate natural capital.

Bulletins, blog posts and discussions on the subject of natural capital from ICAEW's online community.

Online articles

The Library provides access to leading business, finance and management journals. These journals are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

Giving back to mother nature

Discusses the link between corporate finance and sustainability driven by business activities of CFOs.

Natural capital investment solutions to transform the way we protect nature

Emphasizes the need for a socially responsible investment strategy which will protect natural capital.

A 'blue economy' for Belize

Details an effort by the Natural Capital Project to help the Belizean government in creating a plan for the management of its coastal waters.

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Articles are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users.

Useful links

Natural Capital Coalition
A coalition of over 200 organisations working to build a business culture that conserves and enhances natural capital. ICAEW is a founding member of the NCC and is represented on its board and advisory group.
The NCC website includes the Natural Capital Protocol, which offers business managers a standardised framework to identify and value natural capital.


Natural Capital Committee
An independent committee advising the government on sustainable use of natural assets and their derivative products. The webpage includes the minutes of committee meetings and an archive of its publications and research.

Developing corporate natural capital accounts
Practical guidelines for preparing a corporate natural capital account. Prepared by Eftec, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and PwC for the Natural Capital Committee in 2015. Intended for organisations that have a natural capital 'stewardship' role.

Natural capital accounts 2015/16
Forest Enterprise England was the first body to create an organisation-wide natural capital account. It was prepared using the guidelines developed by Eftec, linked to above.


Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Research
CISL is a research institution based at the University of Cambridge that aims to "build leadership capacity to tackle critical global challenges".
It created the Natural Capital Leaders Platform to bring companies together and develop the means to value and manage natural capital.

Measure What Matters
MWM is a three-year initiative to bring together corporate and national actors and establish useful common standards for measuring natural capital and sustainability. Their report Global goals that work focuses on the 17 sustainable development goals put forward by the United Nations.

Natural Capital Initiative
A collaboration between the Royal Society of Biology, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the British Ecological Society and the James Hutton Institute. The Initiative's work and research is dedicated to the sustainable management of natural capital.

Natural Capital Project
A partnership between Stanford University, the University of Minnesota, the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund. The Project works to build solutions to environmental problems.

World Forum on Natural Capital
A major event bringing together speakers from around the world to work on the challenge of preserving and using natural capital. The next event will be held in 2017.


Accounting for natural capital: the elephant in the boardroom
Research paper from CIMA concentrating on the business risk posed by the depletion of natural resources, with examples of some companies working to counteract this. Published in 2014.

IFAC Sustainability Gateway
The International Federation of Accountants maintain this gateway to discussions, resources and news on sustainability and corporate responsibility.

ISO14008: Monetary valuation of environmental impacts from specific emissions and use of natural resources
An ongoing project to develop a new formal standard for the measurement of natural capital.

Material resources, productivity and the environment
Research publication from the OECD that details the nature and role of major natural commodities in the global economy.

Natural and Social Capital accounting
A guide for finance teams looking to make natural capital accounting part of their decision-making process.

Natural capital at risk: the top 100 externalities of business
Research conducted by trucost.com modelling the financial risk from uncounted natural capital costs. Requires free registration to view.

Natural capital and the accountancy profession
ACCA paper focusing on the role the profession has to play in accounting for natural capital. Published in 2015.

Articles and books in the Library collection

Selected articles and books

Click on the links below for more information on these titles.

Natural capital: valuing the planet
(Yale University Press, 2015)
Strategies for establishing a natural capital policy that is balanced, economically sustainable and politically viable.

Valuing natural capital: future proofing business and finance
(Greenleaf Publishing, 2015)
A business argument for incorporating natural capital into financial calculations, with case studies from government and industry.

What price the priceless?
(The Accountant, Nov 2013)
Looks at how natural capital accounting can highlight the impact of business activities on the natural world.

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