Natural Capital Declaration celebrates first anniversary
20 June 2013, Oxford, UK and Geneva, Switzerland: The Natural Capital Declaration  was officially launched one year ago today, at the Rio+20 Earth Summit, on 20 June 2012.
One year later, the project is making progress towards implementing this finance-led initiative to account for natural capital. The NCD was introduced to the world at the High-Level Dialogue on Natural Capital event on 20 June at Rio+20.
The event, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg, brought together heads of state, ministers, and finance and corporate sector leaders to discuss commitments to natural capital valuation and accounting, as a step towards a more sustainable economic system.
The Declaration highlights the crucial role the financial sector has to play in taking concrete action to avoid the unsustainable depletion of natural capital – the ecosystems and biodiversity that underpin both wealth creation and human security.
By signing the Declaration, CEOs at the helm of 39 banks, investment funds and insurance companies announced their commitment to understanding their impacts and dependencies on natural capital, and to incorporating natural capital considerations into their products and accounting.
The Huffington Post reported in June last year that “[a]s providers of growth capital throughout the global economy, financial institutions are a key leverage point in the economic system. Their endorsement and follow-up action to take stock of the stress put on ecosystems within their own business models and the models of those they finance could be a game-changer.” 
The NCD has since developed from having potential to actively working towards its goals. The second phase has seen the appointment of a project manager, Liesel van Ast, formerly a senior analyst at Trucost, and the establishment of four working groups, each led by a bank . More financial institutions have started to join the initiative during this new phase.
As Andrew Mitchell, Director of the Global Canopy Programme , said on 20 June 2012: “The visible engagement of finance sector leaders in this process is a giant leap forward.”
Today, Ivo Mulder, Programme Officer, UNEP FI, said: “Looking forward on the first anniversary of the initiative, the hard part – developing a methodology to account for natural capital in the financial sector – is only just starting. But the need remains as starkly clear as at Rio+20, and with the working groups now getting underway, the initiative is well placed to take further bold steps towards achieving its game changing vision.”
1. The Natural Capital Declaration (NCD) is a global finance-led initiative to integrate natural capital considerations into financial products and services, and to work towards their inclusion in financial accounting, disclosure and reporting. The NCD is the cumulative result of in-depth consultations with the finance community and other stakeholders and is signed by the CEOs of financial institutions. In Phase II of the initiative, signatory financial institutions are setting about implementing the commitments in the Declaration through the Natural Capital Roadmap. This is to be done through a steering committee of signatories and supporters and four working groups, supported by a secretariat formed of the UNEP Finance Initiative and the Global Canopy Programme (GCP). www.naturalcapitaldeclaration.org
2. The Huffington Post, 24 June 21012: www.huffingtonpost.com/lindsay-clinton/rio-20_b_1622575.html
3. The working groups are led by Banorte, National Australia Bank, Nedbank and Rabobank
4. The NCD is convened by UNEP FI and the Global Canopy Programme:
The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative is a global partnership of over 200 institutions, including banks, insurers and fund managers, working with UNEP to understand the impacts of environmental and social considerations on financial performance. www.unepfi.org
The Global Canopy Programme (GCP) is a tropical forest think-tank, working to demonstrate the scientific, political and business case for safeguarding forests as natural capital that underpins water, food, energy, health and climate security for all. www.globalcanopy.org
Go back to News