Transforming finance: exploring natural capital benefits for the Dutch economy

Even though the world economy relies on a limited stock of natural capital, the value of these resources – the goods and services provided by ecosystems – has been underestimated. They are usually considered to be invisible assets. Awareness of the value of natural capital and the flow of ecosystem services it provides is increasing, but translating lessons from natural capital research to action is complex. This is why NewForesight was commissioned by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs) to identify the necessary steps for a green transition in finance.

Strengthening a coalition to accelerate sustainable policies in the financial sector

Agencies of the Dutch Government and NewForesight frequently join forces to create an enabling environment for private and public organization collaboration. To incentivize greener policies in the financial sector, NewForesight conducted a system analysis based on our sustainable market transformation theory. This was presented to the Community of Practice Financial Institutes and Natural Capital (CoP FINC), a coalition consisting of leading banks, pension funds and insurance companies in the Netherlands, Members include the ASN Bank, ABN AMRO, Achmea, FMO and ING.

Applying sustainable market transformation to the financial sector

By using our sustainable market transformation theory, we analyzed the state of the green transition in finance in the Netherlands. We concluded that the development of sustainable investment in the Netherlands has passed the first phase, as small specialized retail banks and a few small private investors are entering the market, and that it is entering the second phase (take-off). It is evident that large retail banks are now entering the arena of green finance. Regarding climate change, the financial sector is currently in the take-off phase, which is characterized by highly ambitious frontrunners and some mainstream players moving slowly. It is therefore time to move to phase three, the critical mass phase. This analysis was used in the comprehensive report of the CoP FINC, Finance for the planet.

Three building blocks to accelerate the green finance transition

  1. Accelerate forward thinking by interlinking multiple stakeholders across sectors to encourage trust, develop best practices and promote knowledge exchange.
  2. Create long-term strategies for investing in companies that prioritize resiliency and a thriving ecosystem.
  3. Monetize the value of natural capital so it is included in economic business models. This will create a win-win situation in terms of improving return on investment and benefiting the environment.

For more insights into the analysis and our recommendations, read our paper on natural capital.

Two reasons why you should partner with NewForesight on leveraging inclusive and sustainable practices in the public sector

  1. Our renowned sustainable market transformation theory is applicable to a variety of sectors and a wide range of stakeholders. At the same time it triggers actionable strategies.
  2. We have worked in many sectors and we know how to mobilize action by fostering long-term and accountable partnerships.