Mission (gray bloc)

Valuing Nature
Samuel Vionnet
Sustainability Expert and Founder
+41 (0)76 372 90 27

I support organisations to integrate the value of natural and social capital into decision making, by providing innovative methodologies, data and expertise.

780% return on investment

For every US dollar invested by Novartis in each of the four carbon-sink projects, an average of USD 7.8 worth of societal value is created thanks to climate change mitigation, ecosystem services,...

How sustainable is hydroelectricity?

The Las Cruces hydroelectric project in Mexico might lead to a negative outcome for the Mexican if built. A natural and social capital accounting method has been used to assess the project's impact,...

There is no sustainability without a balance sheet

Measuring social and natural capital only makes sense when we consider balance sheet. So far, very few organizations have managed to do this. We only see P&L published. But P&L is like GPD, it only...

Jobs at all costs

The private sector is exploring new ways to measure its societal impact, moving beyond traditional economic indicators. We developed an innovative model based on social determinant of health studies....

Achieving net positive impact using the SDGs

If not already done, you will have to use SDGs for defining your net positive impact. But how to measure it? I discuss four steps to support you in this difficult task: your theory of change, your...

Honey is worth more than you think

The Association mellifera is developing a high impact social project around honey bees. Valuing Nature sponsored the creation of one bee colony and calculated the societal value created by the...

Solving half the world’s problems

This article explores the role of Natural Capital within the SDGs and addresses in particular the connexions that exist between SDGs targets. It provide as well some statistics on the maturity of a...

The Sustainable Development Goals and the Mont Blanc

An innovative analysis of the SDG’s targets is unlocking barriers and triggering efficient actions to reach these goals by 2030. By understanding that these targets are inter-connected and that...

The wider benefit of water recycling in a water scarce region

ENGIE, a global energy company, used a water valuation approach to assess the benefits of a water recycling project with the help of Valuing Nature. It showed that the overall benefit generated per...

Water scarcity is not a problem… Undervalued water is

This article summarizes the outcome of a session held at the World Water Week 2015, managed by Valuing Nature, which explored the benefits and limitations of the use of water valuation metrics and...

And now what? The future of Natural Capital Accounting

This article presents the results of a survey, of executives working for private companies and consultancies, on the trends and future challenges of the Natural Capital Accounting approach.

Valuing Water – The Basics

The basic concepts of water valuation as an ecosystem service are presented in this article. Water valuation can fulfil the need for a Natural Capital Accounting method for the private sector. This...

Why is Investment in Watershed Services the future of conservation?

Successful conservation projects have mostly targeted low opportunity cost areas in remote locations until now. Conservation has now entered a new phase by competing with humans needs. Investment in...

The Opportunity Cost of Biodiversity Loss in the Swiss Plateau

Measures to maintain the biodiversity on the Swiss plateau would generate 136 millions CHF of benefit for the society. It is urgent that we realize that the sharp decline in biodiversity in...

Global Land Use Dataset

Data is critical to assess the reliance of companies on natural capital. A new model is available to fill this data gap with a global coverage of land use related externalities.

The Value of Rain

A study showed how to link water footprint and ecosystem services valuation to identify the value of rain and freshwater in Santa Cruz (Bolivia) region. This study was done in partnership with Forest...

Natural Capital Accounting - An Introduction

Recognizing the benefits we obtain from nature is key to ensuring long term profit while creating shared value. This article presents shorty the interest for the methodology, illustrated by a case...

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Valuing Nature
Samuel Vionnet
Switzerland - Guatemala
CH: +41 76 372 90 27
GT: +502 4490-5633‬

Valuing Nature is member of


Global Land Use Dataset

Data is critical to assess the reliance of companies on natural capital. A new model is available to fill this data gap with a global coverage of land use related externalities.

Release date: 04.06.2015
Category: Data

Land is one of the most precious assets we have. Soil in particular is one of the resources we rely on to produce the food we eat. All our activities involve land use to some extent, food production being one of the most intensive land users.

In order to better capture and measure the externalities of companies, or alternatively their “environmental profit and loss accounting”, we rely on good quality data. It is particularly an issue with global companies having a complex value chain. The collection of primary data is complex along their entire lifecycle; as a result, they rely on secondary datasets that they link to data they know. For example, instead of collecting data at a farm level, they will use data from an average farm, expressed per unit of production, and multiply it by the amount they purchase from this farm. This is a common practice within the industry.

Land use data is particularly difficult to model as it varies depending on the location and a variety of parameters. Currently, most companies use one single value for their entire value chain.

I introduce here a new model providing worldwide coverage of externalities values related to land use, based on scientific publications, in particular one from the CIRAIG (the International Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services). Cao et al. 2015 developed the framework for an application within LCA methodology, although its use can easily be extended for this particular purpose. This model measures the externalities linked to land use for five different ecosystem services (see figure below, credit: TEEB icons).

The valuation of ecosystem services is based either on replacement costs or avoided costs techniques. It accounts for:

·      The type of occupation (forest, shrubland, grassland, pasture, permanent and annual crops, urban and urban green areas)

·      The soil functions defined in the figure above

·      The exposure of communities to these externalities

·      The fact that it is a long term occupation or a transformation of land

The open model and data allows to easily adjust the various parameters to adapt the results to the particularities of companies or to further regionalize the data with primary data. For example, the pricing of carbon might be adapted, as could the productivity of different crops, or even agricultural practices such as agroforestry, no-tillage, etc.

The results for a few countries are reported below. The first figure represents the total value of externalities per hector of land used in different countries in USD. The second figure details the contribution of the different externalities linked to the ecosystem services considered for Italy.

I am working on adapting the model to fit the purposes of corporate and project based accounting. Further information about this data can be obtained by contacting me.

Secondary data sources of good quality, which are regionalized and transparently built, will without doubt support the deployment of natural capital accounting methodologies. It will lead to a reduction of costs for such studies, while at the same time improving their credibility by using scientific and reliable data.

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