Natural Capital Accounting

Natural Capital is the stock of renewable and non-renewable natural resources (e.g. plants, animals, air, water, soils, minerals) that combine to yield a flow of benefits to people and support human life. 

Natural Capital Accounting applies a measurable value to natural capital in economic and/or ecological terms. It can be applied at national, regional, organisational or spatial scales. 

One of the major shortcomings of national income and/or financial accounts is that they do not reflect trends in environmental quality or degradation, or changes in stocks and flows of and/or from natural capital assets.

Global implementation of Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) is growing, with companies and governments using NCA as an input into decision making and communication with respect to sustainable development. An Irish agenda on NCA is being implemented through Natural Capital Ireland. 

In 2019 BIM conducted a feasibility study to assess and understand how NCA could be applied to the seafood sector in Ireland.  The next phase of the project is ongoing to develop bay scale and business level accounts in practice.  The objectives of the project are to:

The purpose of the accounts are to support the Irish seafood industry in the management of ocean resources sustainably, and to support seafood industry operators to create value. It is intended that this will manifest through four priority applications of accounting information:

The success of the project will depend on the delivery of these four applications. The project will inform the seafood sector, BIM and the Irish natural capital accounting community about the value and application of NCA and its potential future uses.


Read the full accounting assessment report here

The Natural Capital Accounting project is funded through the Knowledge Gateway Scheme which is established under Union Priority 2 of Ireland’s Operational Programme under the EMFF and is co-funded by the Irish Government and the EU.

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Aquaculture Environmental Officer

Grainne Devine