Natural Capital Declaration
The Natural Capital Declaration is a statement by the financial sector demonstrating its leadership and commitment to work towards integrating natural capital criteria into financial products and services for the 21st century.
Just as ‘capital’ is defined as the stock of materials or information that exists within a system at any given time, ‘natural capital’ refers to the materials and information within ecosystems. Much as an investor will use financial capital to generate profits, natural capital yields a flow of valuable ecosystem goods or services. For example, a forest or a population of fish will provide a future flow of timber or food.
The Natural Capital Declaration acknowledges the fact that, although our daily use of it remains almost undetected within our economic system, natural capital is important for long-term business growth, and its degradation may already be affecting the financial bottom line through ‘slow failures and creeping risks’. The Declaration also reflects the mounting evidence that the failure by financial institutions to consider natural capital is leading to reputational, operational and credit risks for lenders, investors and insurers.
The Natural Capital Declaration was launched at the Rio +20 Earth Summit in June 2012. It provided an opportunity for the financial sector to call upon political leaders to develop a policy framework that can support and incentivise financial and other organisations to value and report on their use of natural capital, and to work towards internalising environmental costs.
Financial institutions are invited to endorse the Natural Capital Declaration at CEO level. Although non-financial institutions cannot become endorsers, they may also register their support for the initiative through the website. To endorse or support the Declaration, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Natural Capital Declaration is being convened by the UNEP Financial Initiative, the Global Canopy Programme, and Fundação Getulio Vargas’ (FGV) Sustainability Study Center.