U.S. National Strategy on Natural Capital Accounting
Responsible Alpha supports The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB)—on behalf of the co-chairs of the Interagency Policy Working Group on Statistics for Environmental-Economic Decisions (Working Group), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and Department of Commerce (DOC) in developing Government-wide natural capital accounts and standardized environmental-economic statistics.
We commend the OMB and other entities that have put forth the first draft of natural capital accounts for the United States. Failing to properly value a nations natural capital resource has led to overuse and misuse of these resources that have pushed the world beyond many of the planetary boundaries1 in nature that humankind needs balanced for an environment that will allow humanity to thrive. Although the need to value and preserve nature can be made for the sake of enjoying that nature in its own right, the preservation of natural capital is also of great economic importance, as about half of the globe’s GDP dependent directly or indirectly on nature.
We agree with the OMB in declaring that natural capital or natural assets, the environmental or ecosystem services they generate, and expenditures to secure and protect nature are foundational elements of economic progress and growth, future opportunity, and sustainable development.
Measuring natural assets and maintaining statistical series can inform planning tools for the American economy. Investors, business, NGOs, regulators and other groups have demonstrated a growing interest in developing natural capital accounting methodologies, and the private sector has shown a growing demand for natural capital data to reduce uncertainty and ensure competitiveness. Therefore, there is demand for U.S. Federal leadership to develop natural capital accounts and standardized environmental-economic statistics to provide a centralized domestic framework and to promote international norms.