An interesting development in real estate is how we now value environmental benefits and burdens, and what the true costs might be. With environmental statements emerging in large company reporting requirements and increasingly necessary for funds holding assets, not just in the "ethical" sector, it is not surprising that new tools and models are emerging to help.
The aim is to use natural capital awareness to help guide decisions and assess environmental risk. This means considering the activities and value of the land, water and plants, as well as the ecosystems they embody, in order to improve a company’s notion of risk. “Most businesses have some idea of where they make an environmental impact but few have an idea of their dependencies. The Natural Capital Protocol will help them connect both, which is important,” explains Mark Gough, director of the NCC. The dependencies, he indicates, can be a source of the risk. If nothing else, the Natural Capital Protocol signifies the recognition by business of the increased risk of greater natural resource scarcity and damage, and the need for plans that better internalise natural impacts. It is an acknowledgement that they must control resource use more consciously.