by Tom Bosschaert

July 2, 2014

Tom Bosschaert

Dear friends, colleagues, and partners, It's spring, time for some sunny news! This edition we focus on the rapid developments in the area of Natural Capital.

We like to shed some more light on the Natural Capital movement, which is gaining more and more attention from both policy and business, and we're full steam ahead to suppert Natural Capital in methodology, measurement, communication, partnerships, and software development.

Also, we have some new people to introduce, went on a winter retreat, and you’re invited for presentations and drinks after the TEDx Binnenhof livestream on March 31st.

What is Natural Capital?

Natural Capital is the economic value of goods and services related to our natural environment. Can we put a price on nature? That’s a hairy question with many ethical considerations, but governments, business leaders, and NGO’s agree that if we don’t start doing something our rapidly dwindling natural resources will continue to disappear. Barry Gardiner, UK shadow minister for the environment, said it most poignantly:

"We use nature because it gives us value, and we destroy it because it's free. Nature should be given the rightful value it deserves, it’s the only real way we can safeguard our natural resources for the future."

Natural Capital Accounting is a means of translating the dependencies of an organization into an organized profit and loss account. The first company to introduce natural capital on its balance sheet was Puma, using an Environmental Profit & Loss Account (EP&L) valued at €145 million in 2010. More are on their way and trying to figure out how to get to grips with it (and take the lead if possible).

How to properly assess the full scope of value from nature is not yet resolved. Recently, we proposed to use parts of SiD as a framework to index natural value more holisticly. Because SiD forces the inclusion of more areas of service, including personal health and wellbeing, it can uncover more long and short term values.

Natural Capital is not a new invention. Take a look at this note from president Roosevelt in 1937 about how he smiled through breakfast while reading about “balancing the budget of our resources”. The Natural Capital discussion is far from new, but is finally getting a stronger foothold.

Take a peek into the what, why, and how of natural value systems in Tom’s recent article, which discusses innovative steps to move Natural Capital forward. Also, Yale’s Journal of Industrial Ecology has published a special issue on the “Frontier in Foodprinting”, which you can download for free.

New members

Meet Roy van Pamelen, our new program manager for the Urban Renaissance (UR) program. With his background in urban development and business administration, he steers and facilitates innovation processes. We're on a roll with UR, working on a dozen new partnerships to create a strong action platform for urban transformation.

Jade Moors is working on a new framework for Natural Capital accounting, assessing the value of soil using SiD. This framework will be used to explore deeper systemic values of natural resources, and to expand to all areas of nature.

Marta Suanzes, on the left, applied SiD to develop an innovative renovation plan for an 18th century ocean-front bunker network in Cartagena. The plan converts the bunkers into an experimental saltwater agriculture center. Marta continues at Except after her traineeship on innovative architecture and urban development.

Gaël van Heist, on the right, is our new ambitious trainee. He uses SiD to research autonomous communities with a focus on knowledge sharing and interactive media. As you can see he claimed the wall to keep track of his project.

TEDx Binnenhof

Join us during the live stream of TEDx Binnenhof and attend two presentations about smart cities at 17h. You are invited for drinks afterwards and mingling with a nice crowd. Be sure to register!
When: Monday 31 March
Where: MeetBerlage, Amsterdam

Redeveloping Kilen

We've teamed up with LIAG architects, we've been selected to redesign an old industrial area into a sustainable neighborhood in Ronneby, Sweden, called Kilen. Michiel visited Sweden drafting the first plan with the Municipality, exploring the systemic options.

Principles for Sustainable Design

Groene Offerte published an article about Except and principles for sustainable design.

Winter Retreat

Last but not least, we went on our annual winter retreat to the Veluwe. Long walks through beautiful nature, and late night talks and drinks. It proved to be very inspiring for some new Natural Capital tools...

Sharing is caring

As always, we’re honored by all the support we get from yourself and likeminded people around the world. We’d love to hear your story, contact us via Twitter_USA, Twitter_NL, Facebook, or Linkedin. With the entire team we wish you sunny days.

July 2, 2014