Natural capital dependencies can create significant risks for organisations when the availability of an important dependency upon which it relies (e.g. water) is threatened (e.g. by climate change or pollution). Measuring and managing natural capital dependencies can support risk management, as well as identification of associated opportunities, e.g. from re-alignment of production processes.

When should I use the Dependencies section? 

Users of the Dependencies section may access these metrics and methods to determine a consistent approach to measuring their dependencies on nature (e.g. the % of water of adequate quality available to the business). 

Users of this section may include (but are not limited to) actors interested in measuring their own direct dependencies on nature, or indirect dependencies associated with their value chain (e.g. customers or suppliers).

Dependency metrics

Ideally, dependency metrics would track the state of all of the natural capital assets that the organisation depends on, but often, it may be more practicable to measure the specific environmental flow or condition that the organisation depends on (e.g. annual rainfall, or the number of days without frost). These can be thought of as measures of dependency availability.

Dependency metrics in the NCMC have been classified into six broad thematic areas according to a typology published by the Natural Capital Finance Alliance and the United Nations Environment Programme. These thematic areas are: Water, Weather and climate, Land and soil, Biodiversity and ecosystems, Energy, and Air.

The level of risk associated with a dependency can be communicated by comparing a dependency metric with a target threshold, defined as the level below which the consequences of a lack of availability of the dependency are considered to pose an unacceptable risk. For example, an agricultural producer could define a threshold of a minimum of 450mm of rainfall per year, below which it considers that it faces an unacceptable risk due to crop failure. Target thresholds need to be determined by users, taking into account the organisational and environmental context in which the dependency occurs.

Case Study (coming soon)