KNOWLEDGE MAP Back to overview

Natural Capital

What is the value of natural capital for specific actors?

Many sectors depend on natural capital for producing goods or providing services. Tourism obviously, but also the apparel sector are two examples. Several case studies, in particular for the Dutch situation, are described in “What are case studies for Dutch governments on different levels?”. 

Apparel sector

The Danish apparel sector carried out a natural capital account for the total production chains. The total costs for the apparel sector were DKK 3,390 million; this equals two times the total profit in 2012. The analysis calculated the cost for GHG emissions, water use, water pollution and land use change. Internalizing the externalities would lead to a net loss in the sector, but by mapping the externalities the sector has been able to identify new business strategies that integrate natural capital.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (2014), p. 6.

Coastal protection and tourism

The value of coastal protection by coral reefs in South-East Asia is estimated at US$ 55-1,100 per hectare per year. These coral reefs are also a tourist area with an estimated value of US$ 231-2,700 per hectare per year. The value of ecosystem services like fishery, pearl fishing and genetic materials for medical research had not been estimated when the knowledge map was published.

In the Netherlands the extensive dunes ecosystem (including beaches) provides important natural coastal protection. Vegetation reinforces the dunes against erosion by water and wind. This also holds for (man-made) dykes. The Wadden Islands moderate waves from the North Sea, thus protecting the provinces of Friesland and Groningen. Dunes in the West provide natural water treatment.

TEEB (2008), p. 36.

Knegt, de (ed.) (2014), p. 113. (in Dutch)

Deltares (2013b). (in Dutch)