Benefit Accounting of Nature-Based Solutions for Watersheds Landscape Assessment

Executive Summary This landscape assessment is the outcome of Phase 1 of a tri-phased project and was designed to inform the path forward for engaging the private sector to invest in nature-based solutions (NBS). A literature review was undertaken to understand the contemporary thinking around NBS and identify key opportunities and challenges faced by decision makers, practitioners and researchers. Interviews conducted with representatives of businesses, civil society and academia who have already implemented NBS projects or are looking to do so yielded qualitative responses to complement or contrast with the findings from the literature review. The key interview findings suggest that businesses are motivated to implement NBS for a variety of reasons. Context is important for determining which NBS are most relevant for a business. Businesses are interested in maximizing the benefits of their investments, and most investments occur (or should occur) at the watershed scale. To further improve our understanding of current corporate investment in NBS, the project team also conducted a review of NBS case studies from the private sector. These case studies included a range of NBS project types across differing geographies, habitat types and industry sectors. As a result of the literature and case study reviews and interviews, this landscape assessment aims to: 1. Explore the concept, definitions and classifications of NBS; 2. Identify barriers to scaling NBS; 3. Review available frameworks or methods for evaluating, measuring and demonstrating the value of NBS benefits; and 4. Examine opportunities to scale NBS. Methods, frameworks, initiatives and programs utilize a variety of approaches to improve the implementation and increase the efficacy of NBS that align with business motivations or which address local societal challenges. This landscape assessment identifies a variety of mechanisms to scale NBS implementation, and categorizes them based on their approach. Interviewees mentioned shortcomings in many of these currently available approaches and mechanisms. Several approaches are being implemented by the private sector, including those that create partnerships around NBS or that align with public policy. Fewer approaches are being implemented to build the capacity of stakeholders to design and implement NBS projects or to identify the multiple benefits of NBS.