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The challenge

The growing demand to assess and account for the environment

Australia's natural environment is fundamental to our quality of life and prosperity. Every day it provides us with goods and ecosystem services, such as clean air, fresh water, food and fibre. Nature also supplies cultural and spiritual values that are essential for our wellbeing.

Australia's natural environment is fundamental to our quality of life and prosperity. ©  iStock, miroslav_1

With climate change, biodiversity loss, and natural disasters rapidly changing the context for decision-making, there is growing demand in government, industry and the community to assess and account for the environment and its contributions to people. But these essential contributions to our wellbeing and prosperity are not always clear.

Environmental-economic accounting is a framework for integrating economic and environmental data to better understand our environmental assets. It helps us to describe changes in ecosystems and how these impact our wellbeing and our economy.

By measuring and reporting the amount, condition and value of environmental assets, we can support the wellbeing, culture and livelihoods of Australians. The integrated information can also be used for reporting on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, assessing natural capital financial risk and designing pathways to an environmentally and economically sustainable future.

Our response

Providing decision makers with a range of assessments and accounts

We provide decision makers with a range of assessments and environmental-economic accounts to understand the opportunities and risks posed by human and natural drivers of change. Our contributions include:

  • developing objective methods to quantify the state and trends of ecosystems, as well as the services and other values that flow from ecosystems, reflecting diverse perspectives and knowledge systems
  • providing integrated assessments and natural capital accounts at enterprise and regional scale that guide management and investment
  • building the body of evidence to guide policy and meet national and international reporting obligations.

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