Appreciating biodiversity

modernising economic accounting in Germany

Our vision

Intact ecosystems, species-rich flora and fauna – also in urban centres – are of immeasurable value to our society and economy.

Immeasurable? In fact, ecosystems make a measurable contribution to national prosperity. But to date, indicators on the contribution of biodiversity and ecosystems have been lacking in governmental economic reporting (national accounts, annual economic reports, etc.) as well as in Germany’s National Sustainable Development Strategy. In some cases, changes are afoot, with companies starting to feature biodiversity in their reporting.

We want to overcome these deficits by creating the right preconditions for nature to be more strongly reflected in government and corporate reporting systems. This would constitute a big step forward in the modernisation of economic reporting.

Our society and economy need a new compass to guide their actions. Biodiversity and ecosystem services form an important basis for decisions on sustainability. By highlighting the values of natural assets, we simultaneously open up new pathways for the increased well-being of citizens. And there is evidence to show that the economy also benefits from the protection of ecosystems and the conservation of biodiversity.

A new, realistic view of social prosperity is emerging, with positive and sustainable concepts that bring fresh opportunities. From its traditional focus on specific regions and species, nature conservation policy is thereby going mainstream.

In concrete terms: Our results will help ensure that the decisions of government institutions are guided by the concerns of biodiversity and ecosystem services; furthermore, the general public and auditing companies will, as a matter of course, be able to regularly hold companies accountable for their actions on these issues. We need transparency and honesty in dealing with limited natural resources instead of "externalizing" these from the balance sheets. It is something of a paradox that while many actors constantly monitor the rise and fall of share prices, they ignore the "wealth" of ecosystems or their degradation, i.e. the reduction in their ecological performance.

However, we note the dawning of a rethink in national economic reporting and in corporate accounting. The Bio-Mo-D project aims to support this development. Using essential indicators for the services of nature and ecosystem, we will show how to establish new bases for decision-making. The professional and discursive linking of the national and corporate levels is a unique aspect of the project.

Ideally, these innovations will foster action from public authorities as well as the business sector to increase society’s appreciation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.