The Department of Commerce Natural Capital Business Roundtables

The centerpiece of Department of Commerce work on natural capital has been a series of roundtables with the business community in four coastal regions.  These events have:

  • Illustrated how incorporating natural capital into business planning and operations can improve shareholder value;
  • Showcased the work of companies already doing innovative work on natural capital along our nation's coasts;
  • Brought to light information needs and resources that would assist businesses in incorporating natural capital into key decision points
  • Provided an opportunity for peer-to-pear learning, discussion, information-sharing, and relationship-building around natural capital issues within the local and regional community.

The Natural Capital Business Roundtables have provided an opportunity for business leaders, federal and state agencies, business and industry organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic experts to share their success stories and challenges they may have encountered as well as ideas about how to advance natural capital work in the private sector.  These stakeholders have also shared their perspective about how the Commerce Department can most effectively support industry efforts to account for natural capital in their decisions.

There have been four regional roundtables to date, each focused on different sectors and hosted by an academic partner.


Focus Sector(s)


Partners and Location

Gulf of Mexico

Oil and Gas, Shipping

April 16, 2015

Rice University’s Center for Energy Studies at Baker Institute for Public Policy, Houston, TX

Great Lakes


June 12, 2015

Case Western Reserve University’s Strategic Innovation Lab and The Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland, OH


Finance, re/insurance, and real estate

Sep. 18, 2015

Columbia University’s Earth Institute, New York, NY

Silicon Valley

High-tech, tourism

Dec. 9, 2015

Stanford University’s Woods Institute, Silicon Valley, CA

Information gathered in these sessions is helping to inform development of this website and decision-support tool.  It is our hope that the information we provide responds to the types of challenges our stakeholders have identified in these regional meetings. This website is intended to help lay a path that businesses can follow as they seek to navigate the resources that are best suited to their needs and situations in considering how best to incorporate natural capital considerations.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce created and unveiled a natural capital website to provide resources and information to businesses seeking to incorporate natural capital into their planning and operations. Natural capital refers to the Earth’s stock of natural resources – air, water, soil, and living resources – that provide a range of goods and services on which the global economy depends.

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