Singapore, 7 November 2012 - International leaders from business, government and non-governmental organizations gathered in Singapore on Tuesday to launch officially the new TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) for Business Coalition Headquarters, which aims to achieve a shift in corporate behaviour to preserve and enhance, rather than deplete, the earth’s natural capital.
The Coalition brings together global stakeholders to study and standardize methods for natural capital accounting to enable its valuation and reporting in business. This is the business application of the G8+5 and UNEP-supported TEEB programme, led by Pavan Sukhdev, which provides a compelling economic case for the conservation of natural capital and is a cornerstone of the Green Economy.
“The work of TEEB makes another sound case for an inclusive Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and highlights an urgent need to integrate the valuation of natural capital into business practices in the vital private sector - the Business Coalition aims to do exactly that,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.
The Coalition focuses on global stakeholder engagement, focused research and development of methods for natural capital accounting. The Coalition’s founding members have pioneered much of the science and business case for natural capital valuation and accounting, providing a credible platform to take the business application of this forward.
These existing activities will be built on to ensure the necessary stakeholders from business, government, support organizations, academia and civil society inform effective and pragmatic methods. This will maximize uptake and enable the transformative change that valuing natural capital in business can bring.
“The invisibility of corporate externalities is a root cause of many errors of judgement across economics, ecology and governance,” said Pavan Sukhdev, Study Leader of TEEB, & UNEP Goodwill Ambassador. “Solving this complex problem is a crucial challenge for sustainability, and it will need global collaboration and research expertise of significant scale. I am therefore delighted that so many leading global institutions, who are represented in this Coalition, are combining forces to address this challenge.”
For businesses to be viable in the long term, the ecosystems and resources upon which they depend must be maintained. Businesses rely on ecosystems that provide critical provisioning services (e.g. water and food) and regulatory services (e.g. climate regulation, water purification, flood management and waste treatment). However, 60 per cent of the world’s ecosystem services have been degraded over the past 50 years.
Resource constraints represent a significant business risk. This is not only from the potential inability to source the necessary inputs for products but also from the threat of political and/or regulatory intervention into operations.
Currently natural capital is invisible in many business decisions - most ecosystem services are environmental externalities and not accounted for in market economics. However, government and business alike are recognizing the importance of valuing natural capital.
Sarah Nolleth, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), said: "A4S is delighted to be a founding member of the TEEB for Business Coalition which is leading the way to develop consensus around ways for business to more effectively incorporate natural capital into decision making and accounting. This is an important step in helping to reform the way that business is done to reflect the reliance of our global economy on the capital and services we get from the environment."
Dr. Dorothy Maxwell has been appointed as Director for TEEB for Business Coalition. Dr. Maxwell joins the Coalition with over 20 years professional experience working in the environmental/ sustainability arena in business, government and academia in the EU, USA and Asia Pacific.
The ceremony, held at Burkhill Hall, Botanic Gardens, Singapore, took place as part of the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development, which presented practical ways to accelerate solutions for a more sustainable world while increasing business and industry growth.
Media Contact: Charlotte Masiello-Riome
Senior Communications Strategy Advisor
About the TEEB for Business Coalition
Established in November 2012 as a Not for Profit organization, The TEEB for Business Coalition is headquartered in Singapore and operates internationally. Dr. Dorothy Maxwell serves as the Coalition Director. For more information, visit www.TEEBforbusiness.org
The Coalition’s founders and supporters include The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), HRH The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), WWF-UK, Economic Development Board of Singapore, Conservation International, The Global Reporting Initiative, Global Initiatives and The University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. From government, observer members include the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and The World Bank. From businesses Puma and Deutsche Bank are some of the companies serving in advisory roles. The board chairmen are Pavan Sukhdev, GIST Advisory, Global Study Lead, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and Gerard Ee, Director of EDBI Pte Ltd.
The Coalition has secured cornerstone funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, as well as from the United Kingdom and Singaporean Governments. Headquartered in Singapore, it will provide a growing knowledge hub in Asia Pacific and internationally on natural capital valuation in business.
Dr. Dorothy Maxwell, Director for TEEB for Business Coalition:
“Incorporating natural capital valuation in business is a game changer for driving sustainability. The TEEB for Business Coalition provides an open source, global platform for stakeholders from business, policy, academia and NGOs to develop the harmonized methods that can make this happen.”
Michael Izza, chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), which led the formation of the TEEB for Business Coalition and hosted it in its set-up phase:
“At Rio+20 we heard that it is accountants that will save the world. I believe it will not just be through the strategic vision and leadership of Chartered Accountants in business and public life worldwide, but also through the discipline accountancy can bring to the issues of valuation and quantification.”
Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Singapore:
“I am very glad to have launched the TEEB for Business Coalition here in Singapore, because for all the significant challenges, the only way that we are going to solve them is through a coalition of all the different stakeholders. It is absolutely essential that we get the economics right and the economics has to extend to biodiversity and to the environment.”
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre:
“Valuing nature is at the heart of sustainable development and is everybody’s business. If we are to achieve the goal of halting biodiversity loss by 2020, we must engage all sectors of society, not least the private sector. That’s why IUCN, involved in TEEB since its beginning, helps businesses integrate biodiversity and livelihood values in their decision-making. I hope that the TEEB for Business Coalition will go a long way in promoting biodiversity-friendly businesses worldwide.”
Peter Seligmann, co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Conservation International and TEEB for Business Coalition board member:
“At Conservation International, we believe that in order for us to move forward we must add nature into the equation when we make development decisions. It's essential for us to start valuing these historically undervalued resources. I am proud to be a founding member of the TEEB for Business Coalition. The establishment of this organization signals that we - as a global community - are making real inroads towards more sustainable growth.”
Peter Bakker, President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and TEEB for Business Board member:
“What the TEEB for Business Coalition does is absolutely critical. If we do not properly value natural capital - a finite resource - it will be impossible to achieve a sustainable world. As a major user of natural capital, business has an essential role to play in using it responsibly. This is something our member companies are committed to and I am delighted to represent them here at the launch."
David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK:
“The TEEB for Business Coalition comes at a crucial time for the planet, where the consequences of unsustainable use of natural resources and under-priced negative externalities are glaringly evident. Accounting for the value of ecosystems and biodiversity, and the services they provide for all living things, is central for responsible decision-making. TEEB for Business has the potential to be globally-significant by encouraging business to contribute to a more sustainable future and a more healthy natural environment for people and nature.”
Ernst Ligteringen, Chief Executive of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI):
“The TEEB for Business Coalition helps businesses apply the lessons of the TEEB project. The Global Reporting Initiative has joined the Coalition because sustainability performance information is the avenue to changing business and investor decision-making in the transition to a sustainable global economy. Understanding the value of biodiversity and ecosystems services is essential for businesses that want to be sustainable and successful in the long term.”
Gerard Ee, Chairman of the TEEB for Business Coalition Board and Director of EDBI Pte Ltd:
“It is exciting to be launching the TEEB for Business Coalition in Singapore. Our businesses make an effective gateway to the rest of Asia Pacific that will attract companies leading the innovation in natural capital accounting.”
Heather Wright of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation:
“Work like that of the Coalition will identify - and capitalize on - the shared values of the corporate, government and non-profit groups that are involved. When all three groups deliberately connect their decision making to the value of protecting natural resources, they increase opportunities for innovation and positive change.”
Jochen Zeitz, Chairman of PUMA SE who serves on the Advisory Group for the TEEB for Business Coalition:
“Continuing to disregard externalities is no longer a viable option with regard to the long-term prospects of our businesses, let alone our planet. Having been the first company to place a monetary value on the environmental impacts along our entire value chain with our E P&L, valuing and accounting for natural capital will help businesses minimize their environmental impacts while simultaneously preparing for the future economic impact of ecosystem services on a business."