Integrating the value of natural capital into private and public investment
Written on behalf of IUCN, we prepared this paper as an input to the meeting “Integrating the value of natural capital into private and public investment and development practice: A contribution towards World Leaders’ Dialogues at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014”, convened by IUCN and the Rockefeller Foundation at the Bellagio Center, Italy, 28 July – 1 August 2014.
It reviews how information, broadly defined, can underpin and facilitate investment in living natural capital. Here, this is taken to mean a stock of biodiversity (from which flows ecological services of benefit to people).
Maintaining the stock is a pre-requisite for maintaining the flows. A focus on stocks also recognizes nature’s many, poorly-accounted values, including option and existence values, beyond those immediately evidenced through goods and services. Future generations may also derive different benefits from, and accord different values to, natural capital than we do now.
The technical sections of the paper deal with definitions, the information base, metrics to assess natural capital, biodiversity asset characteristics to facilitate investment, and tools for upstream project design.
Both public and private investment are examined, but the main focus is private investment in biodiversity markets. Such markets are generally based on spatial differences in opportunity cost. This is where information may have the most crucial role in supporting or, if inadequate, constraining investment.
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