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


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 study on the environmental impact valuation of Nestle.

“It is time to recognize that nature is the largest company on earth working for the benefit of 100 percent of humankind – and it’s doing it for free” (Sullivan, 2009, p.19). Nature’s value plays an important role in current financial performance of companies. It needs to be accounted for. Ignoring it will lead to increased risks and costs.

Natural Capital Accounting is a method to measure the externalities and dependencies of companies along their entire value chain, from raw materials to the end of life of products. More specifically it measures the interactions between our economic activities and nature, including climate change, water resource consumption, land use, water pollution, etc. It allows us to express them in monetary units, representing a value.

Natural Capital Accounting is not yet widespread and standardized, although an increasing number of companies are deploying the methodology to support decision making and strengthening their sustainability strategy. A general movement is starting to take place towards a better understanding of the nature’s value and its economic relationship. For example, the Natural Capital Coalition is joining all interested stakeholders to participate in the creation of the Natural Capital Protocol, to be published mid-2016. Many companies are interested in such work, including the group Kering, which published their entire results and, even more interestingly, their methodology (in collaboration with PwC).

In order to illustrate this method, I use hereafter a recent study from Quantis and AGECO, which assessed the entire natural capital of Nestlé worldwide (that was called “environmental impact valuation” in this study). The figure below (taken from the Quantis/AGECO report) shows the result categorized for each environmental issue and position along the value chain.

This analysis helps companies identify hot spots and priorities. In a context within which sustainability concerns are numerous, Natural Capital Accounting results helps to focus on the most important issues. In the case of Nestlé, climate change, water and land use are the three most important impact of Nestlé. This is well in line with the sustainability priorities communicated by Nestle. We see as well that most of the impact of Nestlé is created in its supply chain, which is common for food companies. The absolute results cannot be communicated for confidentiality reason.

The figure below (taken from the Quantis report) ranks Nestlé’s impact per main biomes in addition to climate change, resources and human impact. We observe that freshwater is one of the biggest dependencies Nestlé has on natural capital, as already identified by Peter Brabeck in an article featured within the Financial Times.

Natural Capital Accounting is a methodology that allows us to obtain a holistic view of a company’s reliance and impact on nature. The results help reach a new audience as they are expressed in common economic units, which overcome the technical barrier often found in communicating other methodologies results (such as Life Cycle Assessment). In a context where companies need to be more and more transparent and accountable, in front of an increasing range of stakeholders, those new metrics will play an important role to support engagement and decision-making.


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