Photo by 78139009@N03 (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Editors' Note: We've asked Mark Gough, Executive Director of the Natural Capital Coalition to share his perspectives on barriers and opportunities facing the incorporation of natural capital understanding into business decisions.   
Natural Capital: The Shiny New Thing in Business
The concept of natural capital in the business community has been gaining momentum for a number of years, moving from a niche idea to the 'shiny new thing'.

Natural capital is now entering the mainstream, and businesses around the world are realizing how crucial it is to understand their relationship with nature and natural systems.

The problem with 'shiny new things' though, is that, at least initially, many have no idea how to use them.   
Gretchen Daily honored with Blue Planet Prize for her work to harmonize people and nature

Our own Gretchen Daily, founder and faculty director of the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, was recently honored with the 2017 Blue Planet Prize, a prestigious $450,000 award recognizing environmental leadership and science that contributes to solving global environmental problems. Gretchen was recognized for her lifetime's research and work creating practical solutions to securing both ecosystems and human well-being.

"The way people think about nature and the science that can inform our decisions are changing," Daily said. "This is a moment of revolution."

Learn more about Gretchen Daily's award in the full press release .
Sugarcane production in Mato Grosso, Brazil.
Photo by  CIFOR (Flickr/Creative Commons)
A Change is Gonna Come

There is no doubt about it: if you've dabbled in corporate sustainability work, you've inevitably stumbled across a lifecycle analysis at least once or twice.

Lifecycle analysis or "LCA" is a common tool used by corporations and researchers alike to quantify the total or "net" environmental impact of products and their supply chains from cradle to grave. They have become ubiquitous in an increasingly global marketplace, where demand for sustainable sourcing is greater than ever.

However, when applied to agricultural commodities, existing LCA methods are not without drawbacks. Previous approaches have rarely been spatially explicit or accounted for the indirect effects of cropland expansion and intensification under increased production scenarios.

New research published in the April edition of Nature Communications--led by The Natural Capital Project's Becky Chaplin-Kramer and Unilever's Sarah Sim--improves the LCA approach in precisely these ways.

Save the Date: 2018 Natural Capital Symposium

Attendees at the Natural Capital Symposium, March 2017

Please mark your calendars and join us for the 2018 Natural Capital Symposium from March 19-22, 2018, at Stanford University!

The Symposium is a major convening of leaders advancing the science and practice of incorporating nature's diverse values into decisions.  Last year's event drew over 300 people from 31 countries, representing universities, NGOs, businesses, governments, and other institutions. We heard from approximately 100 presenters about advances in science, the development of tools, and how natural capital understanding is being used to inform decisions around the world.

We are pleased to announce that this year one of our keynote speakers will be Jane Lubchenco, University Distinguished Professor, Oregon State University, and former Administrator of the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Interactive sessions throughout the symposium will focus on five central themes: sustainable development planning, securing freshwater, fostering resilient coastal communities, developing sustainable cities, and creating standards for the private sector. This year, we are also pleased to announce a scholarship initiative to support attendance and travel for students and practitioners from low-income countries.

It has been exciting for us to watch this event grow over the last several years, and we're looking forward to spending time with an even bigger and broader community at the 2018 event. Please come join us, as we all work together to ensure that nature's contributions to society make their way into smarter decisions for a more sustainable future.

More information about scholarships, the call for abstracts, and additional keynote speakers will be rolled out on our website this summer.

Call for Papers: Special journal issue on handling uncertainty in ecosystem service assessments

Ecosystem Services researchers have made great strides in building our understanding of how our actions affect the benefits nature provides to people. However, predicting these impacts remains subject to imperfections in our knowledge, and how we account for this uncertainty ultimately affects ecosystem services outcomes and decisions.

Following from this work, a new special issue in the journal Ecosystem Services, edited by Benjamin Bryant, will collect examples of ecosystem services analyses using uncertainty assessment to inspire better practice in research moving forward. The journal is currently accepting submissions through September 30th - full details can be found in the call for papers.

Recent Press & Publications

Mapping the global value and distribution of coral reef tourism 
Spalding, Mark, Lauretta Burke, Spencer A. Wood, Joscelyne Ashpole, James Hutchison, Philine zu Ermgassen
Marine Policy. August 2017, 82:104-113. Doi: 10.1016/j.marpol.2017.05.014
Keeler, Bonnie L., Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Anne D. Guerry, Prue F. E. Addison, Charles Bettigole, Ingrid C. Burke, Brad Gentry, Lauren Chambliss, Carrie Young, Alexander J. Travis, Chris T. Darimont, Doria R. Gordon, Jessica Hellmann, Peter Kareiva, Steve Monfort, Lydia Olander, Tim Profeta, Hugh P. Possingham, Carissa Slotterback, Eleanor Sterling, Tamara Ticktin, Bhaskar Vira
BioScience. 2017 bix051. doi: 10.1093/biosci/bix051

Ayana, Essayas K., Jonathan R. B. Fisher, Perrine Hamel & Timothy M. Boucher
International Journal of Remote Sensing. 2017, 38(16). doi:10.1080/01431161.2017.1327125

Conte, Marc N., Robert M. Griffin
Am J Agric Econ. 2017; 99(3): 571-591. doi: 10.1093/ajae/aaw096

Vogl, Adrian L., Joshua H. Goldstein, Gretchen C. Daily, Bhaskar Vira, Leah Bremer, Robert I. McDonald, Daniel Shemie, Beth Tellman, Jan Cassin
Environmental Science & Policy. September 2017, 75: 19-27. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2017.05.007

Pennington, Derric N., Brent Dalzell, Erik Nelson, David Mulla, Steve Taff, Peter Hawthorne, Stephen Polasky.
Ecol Econ. Sept 2017. 139: 75-90. ISSN 0921-8009. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.04.024

Life cycle assessment needs predictive spatial modelling for biodiversity and ecosystem services 
Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca, Sarah Sim, Perrine Hamel, Benjamin Bryant, Ryan Noe, Carina Mueller, Giles Rigarlsford, Michal Kulak, Virginia Kowal, Richard Sharp, Julie Clavreul, Edward Price, Stephen Polasky, Mary Ruckelshaus, and Gretchen Daily.
Nat. Commun. April 2017. 8. doi:10.1038/ncomms15065

Cord, Anna F., Kate A. Brauman, Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Andreas Huth, Guy Ziv and Ralf Seppelt
Trends Ecol. Evolut. 12 April 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2017.03.003

Arkema, Katie, K., Robert Griffin, Sergio Maldonado, Jessica Silver, Jenny Suckale, Anne D. Guerry.
Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. Mar 2017. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13322

Steinman, Alan D., Bradley J. Cardinale, Wayne R. Munns, Mary E. Ogdahl, J. David Allan, Ted Angadi, Sarah. Bartlett, Kate Brauman, Muruleedhara Byappanahalli, Matt Dos, et al.
J. Great. Lakes. Res. Mar 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.jglr.2017.02.004

Guerry, Anne D., and Bruce A. Menge.
J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. March 2017. 488: 10-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2016.12.011

Amélie Y. Davis, Eric V. Lonsdorf, Cliff R. Shierk, Kevin C. Matteson, John R. Taylor, Sarah T. Lovell, Emily S. Minor.
Landsc Urban Plan. June 2017, 162: 157-166. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2017.02.011

Potential effects of landscape change on water supplies in the presence of reservoir storage
Guswa,  Andrew J. , Perrine Hamel, P. James Dennedy-Frank
Water Resour. Res. 2 April 2017. doi: 10.1002/2016WR019691

Burkhard, Benjamin ,  Joachim Maes (eds). Chapter 7.8: Mapping ecosystem services for impact assessment by Davide Geneletti and Lisa Mandle (contributing author).
Advanced Books. 21 Mar 2017. doi: 10.3897/ab.e12837

Bilkovic , Donna Marie,  Molly M. Mitchell, Megan K. La Peyre, Jason D. Toft (eds). Katie Arkema (contributing author).
CRC Press. March 9, 2017. ISBN 9781498740029

For more news stories and publications, check out Our Library. Access to full articles may require library access.

Thank you for your continued interest in The Natural Capital Project. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at .