E-learning course “Valuing nature and people to inform business decision-making”

Client:Capitals Coalition & WBCSD

CategorySupply Chains

Why this e-learning course?

How can businesses understand and include the value of nature and people in their decision-making? There is an increased demand from businesses to obtain knowledge and skills to apply natural capital assessments and a capital approach.

To support businesses on that journey, we have been asked by Capitals Coalition and the World Business Council of Sustainable Development (as part of the We Value Nature Campaign) to develop an e-learning course that is freely available for organizations. The course aims to increase the knowledge and skills needed to identify and measure the value that flows to organizations from nature, people and society. It introduces practical steps that individuals and companies can take now to get started with understanding and measuring their impacts and dependencies. The overall aim is to help businesses to better manage their risks and opportunities, enabling them to deliver an equitable, nature-positive and carbon-neutral future alongside delivering value to the organization.

For whom is this course?

The course is aimed at (business) learners across the globe, working in various sectors, who would like to learn more about natural, human and social capital and how to integrate these values into their business processes. The e-learning format enables learners to follow the course at their own pace.

The course provides a comprehensive introduction to the capitals approach and to undertaking a natural capital assessment, and is available for all employees and leaders, sustainability practitioners, procurement officers, accountants, human resources, auditing, strategy, risk management and finance departments. It is an introductory course; no prior knowledge of natural, human or social capital is needed.

How did we do it?

We have been involved in the development of this course from head to tail. We have built the course on the internationally recognized Coursera platform and used a variety of learning forms to optimize the learning process. This included: the development of course instructor videos, readings, quizzes, and discussion prompts. Moreover, we have engaged with high-level speakers such as Net Positive World Movement founder and former Unilever CEO, Paul Polman, and Tyler Prize winner, Gretchen Daily, and collaborated with business leaders from frontrunner organizations such as Olam, Holcim, Novartis, Eosta, Liv Up and Yorkshire Water. This has resulted in inspiring videos where they share their advice and experience on why and how their business has integrated natural, social & human capital impacts and dependencies into their decision-making and management practices. A natural, social or human capitals assessment can be complex. But the dynamic and interactive set-up of the course will help guide learners along their capitals journey.

To ensure that the E-learning course is relevant to our target audience, we have organized a beta-testing process with over 50 professionals working in or with businesses. This was a valuable process that further strengthened the course.

As organizations around the world continue to recognize the benefits of identifying and measuring the value they receive from the capitals, they are also running up against a lack of qualified professionals to help them to deliver this work. Thanks to this new course, built from years of experience, organizations are better equipped with the knowledge to make more informed decisions that deliver value for nature and people while addressing our collective challenges of climate change, nature loss and rising inequity.

Mark GoughCEO, Capitals Coalition

What is the set-up of the course?

The course consists of four modules and its structure follows the internationally recognized Natural Capital Protocol and Social and Human Capital Protocol.

  • Module 1 – The role of businesses in addressing the great challenges of nature loss, climate change and inequality
  • Module 2 – Better managing risks and opportunities by adopting a capitals approach
  • Module 3 – Getting started with a natural capital assessment: defining the objective and determining the appropriate scope
  • Module 4 – Measuring and valuing impacts and dependencies to integrate natural capital in decision making

The first two modules guide learners through risks and opportunities related to nature, people and society, introduce the concept of a Capitals Approach and present the business case for undertaking an integrated capitals assessment. The third and fourth modules focus specifically on natural capital and how to get started with a natural capital assessment. These modules help learners to identify which impacts and dependencies are most important and introduce learners to measuring and valuing natural capital.

By the end of the course, participants are expected to have learned about the different capitals, why it is essential to embed them into business decision-making, and how to get started with a capitals assessment.

View the course in Coursera!

What are the next steps?

Future course specializations will build upon this introductory course, by providing additional content on social and human capital and allowing the learner to go more in depth with the content and application.

E-learning video’s as a tool for knowledge dissemination

In our experience, an e-learning course is a great way of disseminating knowledge in an accessible and engaging way that can reach a large audience. This can be organized light-weight or more extensive and in-depth. From a series of YouTube videos to a full-fledged Coursera course.

Other topics for an e-learning course that come to mind, include:

  • Urban Nature-based Solutions.
  • Taking a landscape approach to regreening.
  • Business in landscapes – business models for landscape restoration.
  • Landscape finance to catalyze landscape restoration.
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