Natural Capital Tools Guide for Companies | WWF
Natural Capital Tools Guide for Companies

Posted on 14 January 2020

This guidebook provides WWF networks, their partners and all economic actors in general with information on tools dedicated to natural capital.
Natural capital is commonly defined as a stock of resources, both biotic (i.e. communities of living organisms such as plants, animals and micro-organisms) and abiotic (the non-living environment), some of which are renewable and others which are not (fossil fuels, minerals and ores). In the field of life sciences, natural capital is close to the concepts of ecosystems and biodiversity.

A founding idea of natural capital considers that ecosystems, through the goods and services that humans derive from them, are at the heart of human well-being and value creation in our economies. Some support the functioning of the biosphere as a whole, and contribute to the maintenance of the Earth’s habitability for humankind. In other words, human well-being, human activities, and the economic system organising the production, trade and consumption of goods and services fundamentally depend on ecosystem services, and so on the functioning of ecosystems. 
Through the concept of natural capital, we can understand that ecosystems and biodiversity, through their role in the creation of value in the economy, represent strategic elements for both private and public organisations, and should be integrated into their decision-making processes.

This guidebook provides WWF networks, their partners and all economic actors in general with information on tools dedicated to natural capital. These tools are designed to support decision-making on environmental issues, and are divided into six categories according to their main technical features: biodiversity footprint tools, mapping tools, qualitative and quantitative tools, monetary tools, “absolute” ecological performance tools, and integrated accounting tools. 

This selection of tools is not intended to be exhaustive, but provides a broad, representative and up-to-date overview of the tools available to economic actors. These tools meet a certain number of criteria: a strategic approach, an ecosystem-based approach (not limited to one environmental theme), a multisector approach, and a certain degree of formalisation. The analysis of these tools was based on their technical documentation, and on various compilation publications referenced in the bibliography.


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