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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.

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Featured article

Companies are broadening their commitments to nature beyond carbon
Nature-related corporate commitments from Fortune Global 500 companies are rising but remain small, with only incremental progress, according to the authors' analysis. Their research suggests that about one in five companies now track three or more dimensions of nature in their reporting.

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Featured link

Natural capital protocol
A framework developed by the Natural Capital Coalition and University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) to help businesses make thoughtful decisions about the natural resources they work with.


Accountability: from decision-making to disclosure
ICAEW article explaining natural capital accounting and the capitals approach.

Accounting for capital: natural, social and human
Every business decision should be informed by the value of natural, social and human capital, argues Mark Gough, Chief Executive Officer of the Capitals Coalition. Article published in February 2020.

Who should value nature?
2014 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
2015 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.


The Library provides full text access to a selection of key business and reference eBooks from leading publishers. eBooks are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users. If you are unable to access an eBook, please see our Help and support advice or contact library@icaew.com.

Six Capitals: capitalism, climate change and the accounting revolution that can save the planet

Six Capitals charts the rise of four movements: multi-capital accounting, for society, nature and profit; the push for a new type of corporation legally bound to benefit nature and society while making a profit; ecosystem accounting for nations; and legal rights for nature.

Checklists for due diligence

Contains checklists covering the legal, financial and commercial aspects of due diligence, as well as other areas such as IT, intellectual property, and environmental risks. Each checklist includes a short introduction providing guidance on best use.

Environmental reporting

Covers on environmental reporting requirements in the UK, including the measurement of environmental impacts.

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Terms of use: You are permitted to access, download, copy, or print out content from eBooks for your own research or study only, subject to the terms of use set by our suppliers and any restrictions imposed by individual publishers. Please see individual supplier pages for full terms of use.

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. 

Accounting for nature

A profile of Gretchen Daily, cofounder and faculty director of the Stanford Natural Capital Project. Daily's work involves quantifying the value of nature and determining the benefits of conservation and ecosystem restoration. The Natural Capital Project now works with banks, governments and non-profit organizations globally, using techniques such as satellite imaging, soil surveys, climate modelling and human development mapping to quantify and place a value on natural resources.

Institutions see green in natural capital: But investors still cautious about strategies in blooming asset class

UK pension funds are exploring the blossoming opportunity for investment in projects and strategies that put nature at their heart to yield societal, environmental and economic benefits - so-called natural capital. Schroders' Institutional Investor Study 2023 of 770 global investors found that 26% of respondents expected to increase or significantly increase their allocation to natural capital over the next twelve months.

Companies are broadening their commitments to nature beyond carbon

Nature-related corporate commitments from Fortune Global 500 companies are rising but remain small, with only incremental progress, according to the authors' analysis. Their research suggests that about one in five companies now track three or more dimensions of nature in their reporting. Carbon remains the primary focus of commitments, with about four in five companies in the Fortune Global 500 setting carbon-reduction targets.

Showing 3 of 25 items

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 2021-22
Forest Enterprise England was the first body to create an organisation-wide natural capital account (NCA). Their seventh annual NCA illustrates the breadth and scale of the benefits provided by the nation's forests.


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 Impact Group to help businesses understand and then mitigate their impacts upon natural capital.

Capitals Coalition
The Capitals Coalition was formed in 2020, to unite the Natural Capital Coalition and the Social & Human Capital Coalition. The new Capitals Coalition aims to work collaboratively to ensure that the value that flows from nature, society and people - as well as the economy - collectively informs public and private sector decision making.

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.


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.

How to do it: A natural capital workbook
A Natural Capital Committee practical guide, aimed at anyone who wants to use natural capital approaches in making decisions about the natural environment, including planners, communities and landowners. Published in 2017.

IFAC Knowledge Gateway - Sustainability
The International Federation of Accountants maintain this gateway with discussions, resources and news on sustainability topics.

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

Nature in the balance: What companies can do to restore natural capital
A 2022 McKinsey report examining the state of worldwide natural capital, the economic sectors depending on and affecting it, and the opportunities for companies to help reduce those demands. 

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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