How businesses measure their impacts on nature: A gap analysis

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In a recent study: Di Fonzo, M. & Hime, S., (2017), ‘How businesses measure their impacts on nature: A gap analysis’, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), Working Paper 01/2017 

  • Investors and companies alike want to create long-term value by mitigating risks and improving their impact on the natural environment.
  • Company productivity is dependent upon a resilient environment and reducing impacts is beneficial to both nature and business. 
  • Opportunities exist for investors and companies to demonstrate positive impacts and show they are reversing the trend of natural environment degradation.
  • The challenge is to identify metrics that are relevant for businesses’ decision-making processes, whilst being simple and practical for investors to use.  

A plethora of methodologies, standards and tools exist that help investors and businesses understand their interaction with the natural environment. However, these tend not to provide directional, specific information for companies to measure and demonstrate impacts upon the natural environment; instead they offer guidance.

Until consistent, context-based metrics are developed, natural capital measures will continue to be misunderstood and disregarded, and will not become mainstream in decision-making. This report assesses the drivers for companies to use impact metrics; evaluates the support that already exists; and identifies where the gaps are.

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Di Fonzo, M. & Hime, S., (2017), ‘How businesses measure their impacts on nature: A gap analysis’, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), Working Paper 01/2017