Appreciating biodiversity - modernising economic accounting in Germany

Previous sustainability and biodiversity strategies have not been able to counter negative trends in the protection of biodiversity. One major cause of this is the poor structure of economic reporting systems at both the national level and within the business sector. Biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES) are still either disregarded or only partially captured as valuable resources. Both the ongoing loss of various ecosystems and the huge positive contribution that they (still) provide to the well-being of society and to economic prosperity are underestimated. This issue is now on the agenda of international expert groups, with a number of proposals being made in recent years. Yet while several countries have made progress in this regard, Germany is only now taking some first steps towards innovative reporting systems. This is where the Bio-Mo-D project comes in:

Based on an in-depth analysis, the project will explore the potential integration of information on biodiversity and ES (referred to as natural capital in a broader sense) into reporting systems such as the German environmental economic accounts (UGR). The aim is to modernise economic reporting by better integrating elements of biodiversity in the form of natural capital and ES as well as to shift processes of policymaking and business decision-making towards the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The special feature of the project Bio-Mo-D is that governmental actors and companies will from the outset be closely involved during the entire process. This applies to the integration of exemplary indicators for biodiversity and ecosystem services as well as to the corresponding agenda setting for innovative reporting systems. For this purpose, the applicants can build on excellent existing partnerships and comprehensive preliminary work, e.g. on the level of national accounting and regarding an extension of the UGR supported by the work of the German Federal Statistical Office DESTATIS. The entrepreneurial initiative "Value Balancing Alliance" will serve as a practical partner. Based on an analysis of the latest international and national reporting systems, one research objective is to clarify whether there could be meaningful relationships, complements, synergies and cooperative developments between the macro and micro levels. Furthermore, a broad network of actors/stakeholders will be considered via a specific communication concept in the Bio-Mo-D project. The intention is to shift perspective from a rigid focus on economic growth to recognising the importance of responsibly including natural capital in corresponding economic reporting systems. This should foster an increased institutionally-embedded appreciation in society of biodiversity, which will even affect financial investors (keyword "Green Finance").

Results of the 1st project phase until 8/2021 are the further development of the cooperation with the entrepreneurial initiative "Value Balancing Alliance" as well as two analysis papers: on deficits of economic reporting in Germany on the one hand and on a "roadmap" on future innovative steps on the other hand.

The three-year main phase of the project has been applied for.

The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states.

FS Sachsen

This institute is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.