Press release

IISD launches natural capital superpower initiative in Canada in support of Natural Capital Declaration

June 19, 2012
WINNIPEG, JUNE 20, 2012—The International Institute for Sustainable Development is launching the natural capital superpower initiative in Canada as a key follow-up commitment to its support for the Natural Capital Declaration (NCD) launched at the Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Natural capital is the land, air, water and living organisms of the Earth's biosphere, as well as the mineral and fossil resources found in its crust. Natural capital provides society with ecosystem services (clean air, clean water, food) imperative for human well-being and is the basis for all human economic activity. These natural services are worth trillions of dollars per year but rarely factor into corporate accounting.

The declaration has so far gained the support of CEOs representing 39 world-leading financial institutions, who have committed to integrating natural capital accounting into investment and loans. The signatories include the CEOs of two of the largest commercial banks in China: the Shenzhen Development Bank and the China Merchants Bank.

IISD will participate on the NCD working group post-Rio to help develop the implementation strategy for the NCD and will liaise with Canadian stakeholders on natural capital issues.

Director of IISD's Natural and Social Capital Program, Henry David (Hank) Venema said, "The declaration demonstrates that financial industry leaders realize that internalizing natural capital accounting within their financial products and investment instruments increases transparency, reduces risk and contributes to their bottom lines."

In October 2011, the Canadian government announced the creation of the International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development, recognizing the influence of Canadian extractives industries on environmental, social and governance issues around the world. Through the natural capital superpower initiative, IISD is committing to working closely with Canadian partners in the extractives sector and investment community to understand and implement key principles of the NCD.

Ivo Mulder of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative, which has spearheaded the NCD, welcomed the natural capital superpower initiative. "Following the launch of the NCD at Rio+20, it is paramount to work with the financial sector, the wider corporate sector and core supporters, such as IISD, to implement the core commitments as stated in the NCD.

"To that extent we fully support IISD's natural capital superpower initiative, which will assist Canadian extractives industries, investors and government agencies to understand and prepare for the implications of the NCD," Mulder said.

"Our goal is to ensure that Canadian extractive industries are global leaders in all aspects of their value chains," Venema said.


For more information, please contact Nona Pelletier, IISD manager, public affairs at +1 (204) 958-7740 or cell: +1 (204) 962-1303.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.