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University of Cambridge to lead Protocol Application Program



Cambridge University by foshie via Flickr

The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), a part of the University of Cambridge dedicated to building strategic leadership capacity to tackle critical global challenges, will lead the Protocol Application Program on behalf of the Natural Capital Coalition.


With increasing pressure on natural resources and the accompanying impact on the environment, more businesses are beginning to realise that it is in their best interest to properly value the natural resources upon which they depend. To do this they need to include ‘natural capital’ in their decision-making processes alongside other forms of capital, such as financial and human capital.  The challenge for companies is a lack of data, tools and processes to facilitate business decision making in a rigorous and consistent way.

The Natural Capital Protocol is a framework developed by the Natural Capital Coalition to help businesses identify, measure and value their direct and indirect impacts and dependencies  on natural capital. Over the last 18 months CISL has managed a pilot Program on behalf of the Coalition with over 50 companies including Coca Cola, Hugo Boss, Kering and Nestle testing the business relevance and usability of the Protocol. The impacts of these pilot tests on individual businesses are revealed in a new CISL-authored report, Business Insights: Pilot testing the Natural Capital Protocol,  launched today by the Natural Capital Coalition.

The report shows that even the pilot testers were seeing immediate uses for the Protocol.  Sixty per cent of respondents said that piloting the Natural Capital Protocol has enabled them to be more confident in engaging industry stakeholders around natural capital and some businesses used their pilots to inform their approach to investment planning or procurement decisions.

Following a successful pilot program, which generated the interest of hundreds more businesses and the support of finance, conservation, science, standard setting and policy communities, the Natural Capital Coalition has high ambitions for the Protocol Application Program. The new Application Program, designed and led by CISL and open to businesses of all sizes worldwide, will encourage wider use of the Protocol by companies that have not yet engaged with the framework. It will also provide an opportunity for existing pilot testers to make further progress in incorporating natural capital into their decision making.

Dr Gemma Cranston, Senior Program Manager, CISL, said: “It is crucial for business leaders to consider natural capital in their decision making but they need support to do this effectively.The Program will not only provide much needed support to companies through webinars and materials – but will also enable shared learnings and best practice in an area that is still relatively new and unexplored for most businesses.”

We are delighted that CISL has been asked by the Coalition to run the Protocol Application Program, drawing on our experience of working with policy makers, academia and business to co-create solutions to real world problems.

Mark Gough, Executive Director, Natural Capital Coalition, said: “The Natural Capital Protocol provides businesses with the information they need to include nature in decision making. What is needed now is guidance in applying the Protocol. The Protocol Application Program has been designed for this reason, and we’re thrilled that CISL will be leading this program on behalf of the Coalition.”

Duncan Pollard, AVP Stakeholders Engagement in Sustainability, Nestlé, commented: “The Natural Capital Protocol gave us the confidence to start the next wave of exploration at the business level.  We look forward to working with CISL on the Protocol Application Program to deliver this.

Ian Ellison, Sustainability Manager, Jaguar Land Rover, added: “Working with CISL on the Natural Capital Protocol has helped us to set clear priorities for interventions in the highest impact value chains. We look forward to deepening our insights, taking this work to the next level and sharing best practice with others through the Protocol Application Program.”

Michael Beutler, Director of Sustainability Operations, Kering, said: “We had open-sourced our Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) accounting methodology and supported CISL’s pilot program so that initiatives like the Natural Capital Protocol can scale across business sectors. We look forward to our continued collaboration with CISL on this next phase of program implementation to support other companies adopting natural capital accounting methods like the EP&L.”

 The Protocol Application Program will:

  • Support the application of the Natural Capital Protocol though a regular webinar series and support materials.
  • Provide dedicated training and technical advice to support the application of the Protocol.
  • Deliver a structured approach to collecting feedback to set out the business case for applying the Protocol and integrating natural capital into business decisions.
  • Enable effective sharing of experiences between businesses, including the hosting of a two day event each year.
  • Assess the impact/change generated by businesses using the Protocol.

Read the Business insights: Pilot testing the Natural Capital Protocol report here.


4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again



reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan |

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!


If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money




eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete |

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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