Stage two: Taking the debate to the accountants

Logo for ICAEW

The second stage of the Debating Nature’s Value network centred upon a year-long partnership arrangement with ICAEW (the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales).

This new partnership follows the publication of our book entitled, Debating Nature's Value (2019, edited by Victor Anderson). The book, an edited collection of essays, is a way of taking the debate to a wide range of people: The collaboration with the accountants is another way of doing the same thing.

Accountants have an important role in the economy, influencing financial decisions across a wide range of industries and organisations. Their work also gives them the credibility to be listened to generally in the business world. Accountants also have a special role in the debate on valuing nature, as in many cases they are the people charged with the task of arriving at “natural capital” valuation figures. While Natural Capital Accounting is potentially new business for them, many are worried about finding a valid and reliable way to do it. As a world-leading professional membership organisation, ICAEW are well placed to help us access and inform discussions within this profession.

Our collaboration with the accountants included a process of commissioning papers giving different perspectives on the “natural capital” concept, which were presented and discussed at a series of events hosted at ICAEW's London offices. Videos of these seminars are available to view via our Figshare Project Platform, along with case studies highlighting public perception, and views of monetary valuations and no net loss calculations in practice. Some of the papers are available to download below.

We also included civil servants and politicians in discussions about the role of “natural capital” in government policy, with a joint APPG event hosted by Caroline Lucas, MP at the Houses of Parliament. This meeting included a presentation by Andy Purvis, Coordinating UK lead author for the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service (IPBES). A Report for Policy Makers produced at the culmination of the project will be published between DNV and ICAEW.

Stage two of Debating Nature’s Value was made possible by a follow-up funding grant from the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), who also funded stage one.