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The emergence of natural capital consciousness

This GreenBiz article talks about Davey Tree's efforts to bring the value of trees as resources to light.  

Posted: Feb. 1, 2017 

By Margie Flynn and Mark Miller

The rise of natural capital speaks to the broader critique of the traditional economic paradigm: there is such a thing as "uneconomic growth." While many physical symptoms of this reality have materialized, natural resource scarcity and climate change steal the limelight. Most economists uneasily have ignored this fundamental flaw for centuries; they have had the luxury to do so, because traditional economic thought operates smoothly in a resource-rich world. After all, what need would an economist of the Middle Ages have for considering the impact of forests on the water cycle or for trees’ ability to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide?

On a more pragmatic level, economists historically have lacked the capability to measure many forms of natural capital. It is notoriously difficult to calculate ecosystem services, negative externalities and natural resource stocks, unlike calculating coins and widgets. But just as the troubling inadequacies of the prevailing economic paradigm begin to unfold, our capacity to address them has blossomed. Frameworks for measuring and analyzing natural capital dramatically have matured; some companies even have begun incorporating natural capital into their strategy.

Corporate pioneers of natural capital

Consider the Davey Tree Expert Company, a private company headquartered in Kent, Ohio, which provides a wide range of arboriculture, horticulture, environmental and consulting services. They identified natural capital as a strategic opportunity more than 15 years ago.

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