The Natural Capital Protocol is a decision making framework that enables organizations to identify, measure and value their direct and indirect impacts and dependencies on natural capital.
All organizations, to varying degrees, are dependent on the health of the natural world, and often these organizations likewise impact on nature’s ability to underpin their success. Understanding the complex and dynamic relationships that organizations have with the health of natural assets and the ecosystem services they provide enables organizations to make more informed decisions with benefits for their businesses as well as communities, society, the broader economy and the natural world.
Without an understanding of their impacts and dependencies on natural capital, many decision makers will be at least partly ‘flying blind’, and can consequently make decisions that are inefficient, ineffective or counterproductive.
Until now, natural capital has for the most part been excluded from decisions and when included, it has been inconsistent, open to interpretation, limited to moral arguments, or based on an incomplete understanding of organizational relationships to natural capital.
The Protocol responds to this gap by offering an internationally standardized framework for the identification, measurement, and valuation of impacts and dependencies on natural capital in order to inform organizational decisions.
The Protocol Framework covers four stages, “Why”, “What”, “How” and “What Next”. These Stages are further broken down into nine Steps, which contain specific questions to be answered when integrating natural capital into organizational processes. Although set out in a linear way, the Protocol is iterative and allows users to adjust and adapt their approach as they progress through the framework.