We all understand the concept of financial capital. We pay for things we find valuable. Natural capital is the extension of that concept to environmental goods and services.
Technically, natural capital is the stock of natural ecosystems that yields a flow of valuable ecosystem goods or services. The value of ecosystem services can be understood in social, cultural, ecological and economic terms.
When talking about the value of the environment, it’s quite usual to talk in wider social and ecological terms. What’s different about The TEEB Study is that it makes the link between nature and economic value explicit.
We all need to factor the value of nature into our decision making. Businesses need to record their use of and reliance on nature in their financial reports. Local and national governments need to integrate natural capital into their accounting.
Only when we account for natural capital will we be able to see the invisible wealth we’ve been wasting all these years.