Dear Clients and Friends,
Around 400 B.C. Plato understood the interplay between progress and the environment—expressing his concern about the effects of deforestation on natural springs. “Natural capital”—the concept of assigning value to the ecosystems and natural resources upon which businesses and people depend—is a topic that is beginning to gain some traction across Corporate America. For good reason!
Of course, we recognize that our operations have a significant impact on the environment. Mainstream discussion about climate change reminds us of this fact every day. But there is another key point that has not generated quite as much attention: we are using precious natural resources at a pace far greater than our fair share and run the risk of serious shortages in the future (the book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, although over 10 years old, illustrates this in a very compelling way).
Previous corporate generations didn’t pay much attention to natural capital—not so much out of malicious intent but out of naivety and lack of understanding of the significance of their impact on the planet. And today, we simply can’t separate this issue from our day to day operations. As business leaders we have an obligation to look after our natural world.
You may have seen the viral video, “How Wolves Change Rivers.” I think this video sums up this issue and challenge so well—so I offer it as a little inspiration for thinking about natural capital. And I invite you to read Capital Goes Natural in this newsletter about how corporations are beginning to manage natural capital as an asset.
At any rate, I hope you find this topic relevant and stimulating—and I welcome your feedback and ideas. This is an area where our collective impact will be much greater than the sum of our organizations’ individual efforts.
Of course, this is just one of many pressing issues for businesses, so we’ve included several other articles that may be of interest:
As always, we are happy to discuss any of your key business challenges.