Operationalising natural capital: Managing opportunities and risks from natural resources

This report from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) explores how businesses within CISL’s Natural Capital Leaders Platform are looking for ways to incorporate natural resource concerns in their decision-making. It paves the way for companies to explore the commercial logic behind their decisions on the natural environment.


It is intended to provide an overview for sustainability leaders and managers of the state of play of where natural capital is already being included in business decision-making and where there are still barriers to its incorporation.

The Platform members worked with CISL to establish the commercial decisions that are already being impacted by natural resource challenges in their organisations. Rather than taking a narrow perspective to mitigate operational or reputational risk the businesses agreed that they are pursuing longer-term company strategies by recognising natural capital as a financial opportunity; over 50 per cent of the businesses are realising this through their strategic investments. However, it is clear that the commercial impacts resulting from investments in the natural environment are not being articulated through quantifiable metrics. This makes it difficult to communicate successes and future risks across different business departments. Overcoming this challenge is particularly pertinent as corporate functions and senior leadership teams are becoming more engaged around discussions on natural resources.

The work has identified the opportunity to develop a set of metrics that would link commercial impacts to impacts on the natural environment; CISL is leading this exploration. Such metrics can help further internal buy-in and enable the development of a strong business case for future investments in the natural environment.  

Click here to download the report.

Tags: Ecosystem valuation

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