How to value our natural assets
Much of the value that flows from our economy is drawn from natural resources including clean air, water, soil and living things.
Many industries depend on natural resources, particularly those that own or control significant natural capital assets (e.g., forest growers, farmers, mining companies, government, and non-government organisations with substantial landholdings).
While nature underpins our economic growth, the value of nature is excluded in dominant financial analysis tools and rarely factored into decision-making by businesses.
This failure to account for nature in decision-making has had serious consequences over time and today nature loss is increasingly recognised as a material risk to business.
How we report on all fronts of nature-related activity is now being recognised as a critical component in helping to reverse environment decline, and in future, is expected to become a mandatory requirement for businesses globally.
But how companies track and measure its impacts and dependencies on nature is challenging as standard measurements are complex.
Measuring, assessing and reporting nature
Building on previous work, CSIRO has developed a practical how-to handbook that delivers a practical step-by step guide for Australian companies and landowners on how to measure and incorporate natural assets such as clean air, water, soil and living things into their financial books.
Drawing upon existing standards and frameworks for national-level accounting under the UN System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) framework, the handbook aligns with existing corporate financial reporting equivalents to identify environmental loss and gains.
It also connects the concept of natural capital accounting – a systematic accounting framework to measure and report on stocks and flows of natural capital that recognises the economic, ecological and social value of the environment.
A guide to natural capital accounting and risk assessment
The Natural Capital Handbook harmonises resources, frameworks, and indicators to help Australian businesses across all sectors measure, track and manage their natural capital assets to make informed decisions on nature-related risks and invest in nature-positive opportunities to help reverse ongoing environmental declines.
It is a free resource for Australian businesses across all sectors on how to report and account for their natural assets to foster more sustainable and responsible corporate activity that better protects our environment.
Download the handbook
Interested in working with us?
CSIRO scientists have a deep domain expertise and capabilities in natural capital assessment and accounting. We bring together science, technology and economics to help you develop transformative strategies that tackle your biggest challenges.
Our work covers everything from playing an important role in the success of participants in entirely new industries to developing innovation pathways for leading businesses operating in mature markets.