On September 25th, 2015, the United Nations State members agreed upon the agenda: Transforming our world: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The global objectives -among others- were set to eradicate poverty and hunger, guarantee universal education and health services, and protect marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The Agenda established 17 Sustainable Development Goals with specific outcomes which must be achieved by 2030.
If the 17 SGD and its 169 goals are to be achieved, everyone must play their part: Governments, private sector, society and citizens.
Image from Johan Rockström (Stockholm Resilience Centre Director) and Pavan Sukhdev (member of the Advisory Board of the Stockholm Resilience Centre) during Stockholm EAT Food Forum 13.
The four ecological SDGs (6, 13, 14 y 15) uphold the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, an agenda which understands development in an integrated manner, in lieu of the vision which considers nature a separate entity which must be protected and preserved. The 2030 Agenda admits that “social and economic development relies on the sustainable development of our planet´s natural resources”. As a matter of fact, all human activities are supported by natural capital´s reserves and the flow of ecosystem services in the pursuit of SDGs.
Natural capital accounting
Due to the complexity of measuring progress in the achievement of SDGs, policy makers and professionals who work to promote these commitments in their business areas might tackle the 17 SGDs as independent issues, and fail to work together to accomplish them. In order to avoid this, natural capital accounting -NCA- can be more than a useful tool to monitor progress; it can also promote an integrated approach to achieving the established goals, while providing valuable insight for future decision making.
NCA can also be a very useful tool de develop indicators for some SDGs; not only environmental ones, but also those related to a sustainable agriculture, energy, employment, production and consumption.
Natural capital accounting is mainly -with some regional exceptions- being incorporated by policy makers, and less so by businesses and professionals in other areas of society, which represents a loss of opportunities.
NCA offers a necessary structure and consistent information, comparable and based on science. It also helps monitoring SDG indicators´ state and trends, by identifying the links between trade-offs (opportunity cost) and the synergy between the SDGs. Any environmental policy or strategy must necessarily give thought to trade-offs; the objective is to understand what is possible and minimize any negative impact while obtaining the best viable result. Natural capital accounting provides vital information to these processes and identifies the relevant synergy between the different courses of action.
For example, NCA can be the perfect tool to visualize the business-SDGs relationship through accounting data to determine the link between the industry´s CO2 emission goals and health and well-being indicators. NCA is also key in understanding natural assets (forests, rivers, fields, lakes…) and the value they produce, to decide where to invest.
Products and Services
Advising businesses on how they can include the 2030 United Nation´s sustainability goals
Implementation and development of 2030 SDG-related communication plans
Design performance indicators for natural capital and ecosystem services
Implementation of 2030 SDGs in businesses through adaptation strategies and courses of action
Advisory services for long- and short-term objective definition, reach, ambition level, relevance, granularity, work groups and timing of corporate strategies focused on 2030 SDGs
Natural capital, sustainability, biodiversity and climate change performance indicators
The study of the relationships, hierarchies and connectivity within inter-departmental decision-making
Multi-criteria analysis and input-out matrixes to produce performance factors, sustainability indexes
A sociological approach based on the theory of change when designing corporate strategy and courses of action