The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), in association with the Environmental and Sustainability Management Accounting Network (EMAN), conducted a Symposium on business measurement, valuation and reporting of environmental and social capital impacts and performance. The symposium brought together academics and business practitioners together to help define and foster collaborative and participative action research. The Symposium took place in Geneva, Switzerland on 1st and 2nd October 2015.

Doug MacNair (ERM) and Kevin Halsey (EcoMetrix Solutions Group, ESG) were invited to participate in the Symposium. Their paper describes a framework that helps companies determine which sustainability outcome metrics can improve their internal decision-making, and how the value of sustainability metrics can be quantified. In particular, it focuses on important role that project context has in making good sustainability decisions.

The paper provides an illustration of two tools that companies can use to quantify and value environmental and social impacts. The Natural Capital Decision Analytics (NCDA) tool, built by ERM, provides a robust framework for corporations to systematically evaluate project or program decision alternatives based on the environmental and social metrics that are most important to decision-makers. The Ecosystem Service Identification and Inventory (ESII) tool, which is being developed collaboratively by The Dow Chemical Company, The Nature Conservancy, and EcoMetrix Solutions Group, enables corporations to quantify the production of ecosystem services in units of measure that can be valued.

For more information on this paper, you can contact Doug MacNair at