Valuing the natural environment for sustainable decision making

Today, a country's economic performance is measured through standardized economic accounting frameworks, expressed in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This GDP does integrate natural capital, but from a single economic profit viewpoint. It does not consider nature’s value through the wide variety of ecosystem services and their contributions to society and human well-being.

The objective of Natural Capital Accounting (NCA), also known as ecosystem accounting, is to complement GDP through the povision of timely and objective geospatial information on the total value of the natural environment. These information is generated according to United Nations System of Environmental Economic Accounting (UN SEEA) standard and will be incorporated into national, business and other accounts that are recognized by those involved in financial and management decisions.

As such, NCA is a multi-purpose tool to measure the stock and flows of ecosystem services at a variety of scales and to integrate their value into reporting systems to improve decisions aiming at a more sustainable socio-economic model and hence contribute to reverse our major societal challenges as biodiversity loss and climate change.