Dear IDEEA Group Partners and Friends,

As we round out another year, the issue of the depletion and degradation of natural capital still remains at the forefront of our minds. Despite taking many steps in the right direction during 2018, there is much work to be done across disciplines and across the private and public sector to maximise our collective impact.

We will be in contact with you during 2019 to discuss how environmental-economic accounting can be employed to help achieve your organisation’s objectives. Watch out for a quarterly newsletter and regular posts on our website, and please contact us via email if you have any queries. We leave you with some of our key breakthroughs in 2018.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.


Environmental-economic accounting for the forestry sector

Since 2016, IDEEA Group have been working with Forico to apply the United Nations’ System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) to the management of the Forico estate. To date, the work program has demonstrated that the SEEA principles can be applied at the business level and are very relevant to Natural Capital Accounting and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Phase 2 of the work program, completed earlier this year, consisted of the measurement of the extent of natural and plantation forest ecosystems, the condition of natural forest, and four ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, water provisioning, habitat provisioning and timber provisioning. A framework for integrating the environmental-economic accounts within Forico's accounting system was also explored. Click here for the full report.
“accounting for all ecosystem services for each ecosystem asset supports targeted investment”

Forico’s Simon Cook

Combining Forces

Throughout 2018, IDEEA Group have been supporting the Natural Capital Coalition with the Combining Forces program. Combining Forces provides a convening network for aligning private and public sector efforts to bring natural capital thinking into the mainstream of economically driven decision making. The benefits and priority areas of Combining Forces are outlined here.
IDEEA Group were privileged to hold the inaugural Combining Forces workshop in Melbourne during September. IDEEA Group also supported the Natural Capital Coalition at the Natural Capital Week in Paris in November where IDEEA Group Director Carl Obst partnered with Natural Capital Coalition Executive Director Mark Gough to run the Combining Forces Workshop. More details to come in the new year, stay tuned.
Assessing the feasibility of environmental-economic accounting in Industrial Parks in China
China has a number of Industrial Parks, or special economic zones, that depend heavily on water. We worked with the Alliance for Water Stewardship to explore the feasibility of applying the SEEA to support the monitoring, impact evaluation and reporting of the AWS Standard in Industrial Parks.
 indicated that environmental-economic accounting provides benefits for the companies that use it and supports the objectives of the AWS. Benefits to companies include reduced compliance costs in dealing with multiple government agencies, improved communication from using aligned measurement methods and market ready information in case opportunities arise for payments for ecosystem services.

Research — Extending GDP

A key feature of national accounting, which underpins the calculation of GDP, is the recording of transactions between economic units, households, business and government. However, it does not recognise transactions between economic units and the environment: for example, ecosystem services.
In their
journal article
 (published in Ecosystem Health and Sustainability), Mark and Carl apply the principles of national accounting to bring additional rigour and consistency to the definition of ecosystem services. The key outcome of the paper is a framework for describing the relationship between ecosystems and economic activity that can be used to consistently define, classify, measure and account for ecosystem services following standard national accounting principles.
In the same edition of the journal, Carl and Mark also contributed to a
 by Sue Ogilvy on using accounting standards to record liabilities for ecosystem restoration.

2018 Future Policy Vision Award 

IDEEA Group Director Carl Obst co-authored a chapter in TEEBAgriFood, which won an award for developing a comprehensive evaluation framework for food systems that helps decision-makers to compare different policies and the market to value food more accurately. Read the synthesis report here.
Other areas of work
We have presented at these events: Keep an eye out for forthcoming work on:
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultural values and the environment
  • Gender, poverty, and the environment
  • Environmental profiles of Melbourne’s regions
  • Environmental economic accounts for Uganda, #2
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