Arctic Freshwater Natural Capital in the Nordic Countries

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Current indicators of economic growth (e.g., GDP) do not adequately consider sustainability, while environmental indicators alone fail to acknowledge the economic needs of a society. Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) can be the tool that fills the gap separating current economic and environmental indicators. Development of NCA has progressed considerably and is being widely deployed in the Nordic countries, but development and deployment remain uneven. This report provides background on NCA and its associated accounting frameworks, demonstrates the applicability of NCA for sustainably utilizing freshwater resources in the Nordic Arctic and provides recommendations for maximizing the value of environmental accounting as an economic, environmental, and sustainable development tool.




Arctic Freshwater Natural Capital project is a flagship project for the Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The project is coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute with the support of the project partners – Icelandic Meteorological Office, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Stockholm Environment Institute and Aarhus University. We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the Natural Resources Institute Finland for the utilization of forest sector model FinFEP and Satu Turtiainen for the design of several of the included figures.


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